This retrospective case review was performed with the aim to asses the value of cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) in the preoperative diagnosis of otosclerosis. A total of 32 patients with histologically confirmed stapedial otosclerosis, who underwent unilateral stapedectomies were analyzed. Preoperative temporal bone CBCT scans were performed in all cases. CBCT imaging was characterized by a slice thickness of 0.3 mm and multiplanar image reconstruction. Histopathologic examination of the removed stapes footplates was performed in all cases. Findings of CBCT were categorized according to Marshall's grading system (from grade 0 to grade 3). Histopathologic results were correlated to multiplanar reconstructed CBCT scans, respectively. Histologically active foci of otosclerosis (n = 21) were identified by CBCT in all cases with a sensitivity of 100 %. However, CBCT was unable to detect histologically inactive otosclerosis (n = 11, sensitivity = 0 %). According to CBCT scans, no retrofenestral lesions were found and all positive cases were recruited into the grade 1 group indicating solely fenestral lesions at the anterior pole of stapes footplates. In conclusion, CBCT is a reliable imaging method with considerably lower radiation dose than high-resolution CT (HRCT) in the preoperative diagnosis of otosclerosis. These results indicate that CBCT has high sensitivity and specificity in the detection of hypodense lesions due to histologically active otosclerosis.
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