Objectives/Hypothesis: Image-guided optical tracking systems are being used with increased frequency in lateral skull base surgery. Recently, electromagnetic tracking systems have become available for use in this region. However, the clinical accuracy of the electromagnetic tracking system has not been examined in lateral skull base surgery. This study evaluates the accuracy of electromagnetic navigation in lateral skull base surgery. Study Design: Cadaveric and radiographic study. Methods: Twenty cadaveric temporal bones were dissected in a surgical setting under a commercially available, electromagnetic surgical navigation system. The target registration error (TRE) was measured at 28 surgical landmarks during and after performing the standard translabyrinthine and middle cranial fossa surgical approaches to the internal acoustic canal. In addition, three demonstrative procedures that necessitate navigation with high accuracy were performed; that is, canalostomy of the superior semicircular canal from the middle cranial fossa,1 cochleostomy from the middle cranial fossa,2 and infralabyrinthine approach to the petrous apex.3. Results: Eleven of 17 (65%) of the targets in the translabyrinthine approach and five of 11 (45%) of the targets in the middle fossa approach could be identified in the navigation system with TRE of less than 0.5 mm. Three accuracy-dependent procedures were completed without anatomical injury of important anatomical structures. Conclusion: The electromagnetic navigation system had sufficient accuracy to be used in the surgical setting. It was possible to perform complex procedures in the lateral skull base under the guidance of the electromagnetically tracked navigation system. Levels of Evidence: N/A. Laryngoscope, 2016 127:450–459, 2017.
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