Stapes

Last revised by Dr Yuranga Weerakkody on 11 Feb 2021

The stapes (plural: stapedes) is the smallest and most medial of the three middle ear ossicles. It is the smallest bone in the standard human skeleton.

It has a base (foot piece/footplate) which articulates with the oval window and conducts vibrations to the cochlea. The base is attached to the neck via anterior and posterior arches (also called the anterior and posterior crura). On top of the neck (or hub) is a concave head (also known as the capitulum) which articulates with the lentiform nodule (lenticular process) of the incus. The combination of the capitulum, neck, and crura is collectively referred to as the stapes superstructure.

The stapes has a number of attachments:

History and etymology

"Stapes" is Latin for stirrup.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: stapes illustration
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  • Figure 2: anatomy of the middle ear
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  • Figure 3: CT - axial
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  • Figure 4: annotated CT
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  • Figure 5: middle ear anatomy illustrations
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  • Figure 6: middle ear anatomy illustrations
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