The purpose of this four-part series is to show the high-resolution axial and coronal anatomy of the temporal bone from a flat-panel detector-based volume CT (parts 1 and 2); these imaging planes are then used to outline the effect of different surgical procedures commonly applied to the temporal bone (parts 3 and 4). The structures that are removed or altered in 11 different surgical procedures are color-coded and inscribed in axial and coronal sections. Clinically important imaging features and complications following these surgeries will also be discussed. In these high-resolution images, many structures that are below the resolution limit of conventional CT can be seen and localized. It is hoped that one would be able to picture these structures and surgeries, in the mind's eye, even when they fall below the resolution limit using a conventional CT scanner. This article (part 1) focuses on the preoperative axial anatomy.