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Dr Tim Luijkx and Assoc Prof Frank Gaillard et al.

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.

Anatomy: Head and neck

Anatomy: Head and neck

Article information

rID: 2084
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Tag: refs, stub
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Head of the stapes
  • Capitulum of the stapes
  • Crura of the stapes
  • Foot piece of the stapes
  • Footplate of the stapes
  • Base of the stapes
  • Hub of the stapes
  • Neck of the stapes
  • Stapes superstructure

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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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