A Deep Learning Framework for Analysis of the Eustachian Tube and the Internal Carotid Artery

Ameen Amanian, Aseem Jain, Yuliang Xiao, Chanha Kim, Andy S. Ding, Manish Sahu, Russell Taylor, Mathias Unberath, Bryan Ward, Deepa Galaiya, Masaru Ishii, Francis X. Creighton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Obtaining automated, objective 3-dimensional (3D) models of the Eustachian tube (ET) and the internal carotid artery (ICA) from computed tomography (CT) scans could provide useful navigational and diagnostic information for ET pathologies and interventions. We aim to develop a deep learning (DL) pipeline to automatically segment the ET and ICA and use these segmentations to compute distances between these structures. Study Design: Retrospective cohort. Setting: Tertiary referral center. Methods: From a database of 30 CT scans, 60 ET and ICA pairs were manually segmented and used to train an nnU-Net model, a DL segmentation framework. These segmentations were also used to develop a quantitative tool to capture the magnitude and location of the minimum distance point (MDP) between ET and ICA. Performance metrics for the nnU-Net automated segmentations were calculated via the average Hausdorff distance (AHD) and dice similarity coefficient (DSC). Results: The AHD for the ET and ICA were 0.922 and 0.246 mm, respectively. Similarly, the DSC values for the ET and ICA were 0.578 and 0.884. The mean MDP from ET to ICA in the cartilaginous region was 2.6 mm (0.7-5.3 mm) and was located on average 1.9 mm caudal from the bony cartilaginous junction. Conclusion: This study describes the first end-to-end DL pipeline for automated ET and ICA segmentation and analyzes distances between these structures. In addition to helping to ensure the safe selection of patients for ET dilation, this method can facilitate large-scale studies exploring the relationship between ET pathologies and the 3D shape of the ET.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • artificial intelligence
  • deep learning
  • Eustachian tube
  • Eustachian tube balloon dilation
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction
  • medical imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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