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3 Tesla Delayed Contrast Magnetic Resonance Imaging Evaluation of Ménière's Disease


  • Supported with a research grant from the New England Otolaryngology Society.

  • Presented at the Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., May 19–22, 2006.


Objective: To determine whether 3 Tesla (T) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with delayed contrast imaging has sufficient anatomic resolution to image the intracochlear fluid spaces (i.e., the scala tympani, scala media, and scala vestibuli) of the inner ear and identify endolymphatic hydrops in vivo.

Study Design: Four normal subjects underwent 3T MRI scanning after the administration of gadodiamide intravenous (IV) contrast. MRI region of interest signal intensity was used to determine the diffusion of gadodiamide into the perilymphatic fluid spaces over time. Seven subjects with unilateral Ménière's disease underwent 3T MRI 4 hours after administration of gadodiamide IV contrast agent.

Results: All four normal subjects demonstrated perilymphatic enhancement by 4 hours postinjection. Loss of definition of the membranous cochlea was noted in five of the seven subjects with Ménière's disease. Precise definition of the scala media could not be achieved with this imaging protocol.

Conclusion: Delayed contrast imaging of the inner ear with 3T MRI revealed in vivo changes of the membranous labyrinth consistent with unilateral Ménière's disease.