Temporal bone and stapes
Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger,
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed
Cat, Müller's fluid, iron hematoxylin, 162 x.
Tympanic cavity: Air-containing space in the middle ear. Limited laterally by the tympanic membrane and medially by the osseous labyrinth. Although not illustrated here, the cavity contains the chorda tympani nerve, the auditory ossicles, and the small tendons of the stapedius and tensor tympani muscles, which are connected to the bony ossicles.
Stapes: One of the three auditory ossicles in the tympanic cavity. It was so-named by the Italian anatomist, Ingrassias, who described it in 1546. The name is derived from Latin (stare, to stand; pes, foot; the thing in which the foot stands) because of its resemblance to a stirrup. The ossicle consists of a head, neck, two limbs, or crura, and a base. The two crura are connected to the base. This figure shows only the anterior crus of the stapes and part of the base.
Anterior crus of stapes: Shorter and less curved than the posterior crus with which it is connected by the base.
Base of stapes: Also called foot plate of the stapes. Fixed to the margin of the fenestra vestibuli (ovalis) by the annular ligament. Also connects the two crura of the stapes.
Annular ligament: A ring of fibroelastic tissue that fixes the base of the stapes to the fenestra vestibuli but permits the stapes to rock or move in response to vibrations of the eardrum. The sound waves are transmitted to the stapes by the incus and malleus (the other two auditory ossicles).
Vestibule: Large bony cavity medial to the tympanic cavity. In its lateral wall is the fenestra vestibuli, to which the foot of the stapes is fixed.
Temporal bone: Surrounding the ear cavities and containing the vestibular and sound receptor organs (semicircular canals and the cochlea). See Plates 312, 314, and 315.
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