Dimensions and position of the Eustachian tube in Humans.
Eustachian tube (ET) dysfunction is one of the causes for chronic otitis media. To develop new therapies such as stents to facilitate middle ear ventilation, a better knowledge on dimensions and positions of the ET in individual patients is necessary. Cone beam CT scans of 143 patients were retrospectively investigated. Parameters such as lengths of the ET and its cartilaginous and bony parts, diameters, angles as well as distance of the ostium from the nasal conchae were determined and evaluated for side, gender and age specific differences. The average length of the cartilaginous and bony tubes was smaller in women than men. The average deviation from the horizontal plane was 1.7° larger on the left side (35.4°) compared to the right side (33.7°). Tools to manipulate the ET or to insert stents into the ET should cover angles from at least 42° to 64°. The distance of the pharyngeal orifices from the conchae nasalis inferior increased with age, becoming most prominent above 70 years of age. This investigation provides necessary information to develop stents for human application and tools for safe positioning of the stents.