3D Ear

Overview > Ossicles > Tympanic Membrane > Tendons > Nerves > Inner Ear

Ossicles

There are three ossicles: the malleus ("hammer"), the incus ("anvil"), and the stapes ("stirrup"). The ossicles are covered by the mucous membrane that also lines the tympanic cavity. The ossicles form a chain of bones from the tympanic membrane (laterally) to the oval window of the inner ear (medially).

Labeled image of a malleus bone

Malleus

The malleus has two main parts: the manubrium ("handle"), which adheres to the tympanic membrane, and the head, which articulates with the incus. The manubrium also has two processes: one anterior and one lateral. The region between the manubrium and the head is called the neck of the malleus.

The chorda tympani (a branch of the facial nerve) crosses the medial surface of the malleus neck. The malleus head lies in the epitympanic recess (space superior to tympanic membrane).

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Labeled image of an incus bone

Incus

The incus is divided into 3 principal parts: a body and two processes (named short and long, respectively). The head of the incus articulates with the head of the malleus. At the end of the long process of the incus is a small region called the lenticular process. The lenticular process articulates with the head of the stapes. The short process of the incus is attached to the cavity wall by the posterior incudal ligament. The head of the incus lies in the epitympanic recess.

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Labeled image of a stapes bone

Stapes

As the name implies, the stapes looks like a stirrup. It has four components: a footplate, two crura (posterior and anterior), and a head. The head of the stapes articulates with the lenticular process of the incus. The footplate of the stapes covers the oval window (an opening into the inner ear cavity).

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