We present an interesting and relatively uncommon case of vestibular pneumolabyrinth in a young child post-trauma. His initial clinical exam and imaging studies of the head and cervical spine were negative. He subsequently developed nystagmus and a dedicated temporal bone study demonstrated a subtle fracture and vestibular pneumolabyrinth. Temporal bone fractures can be difficult to appreciate, and therefore, associated findings of fluid in the middle ear, stapes dislocation, or vestibular pneumolabyrinth must be carefully evaluated. Temporal bone computed tomography is a high resolution study, utilizing dynamic focal spot mode which leads to increased sampling and resolution, thereby reducing aliasing artifacts but a longer scan time and increased radiation dose. CT head and cervical spine normally obtained without using this technique leads to aliasing artifacts where even the normal endolymph in the inner ear structures appear hypodense mimicking pneumolabyrinth, thereby obscuring true pneumolabyrinth. It is important to be aware of this finding and technique-related artifact, if a temporal bone injury is suspected, to ensure an earlier diagnosis and optimum management.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Emergency Medicine
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging