The stapes is the smallest and most medial of the middle ear ossicles.

It has a base (foot piece / footplate) which seals the oval window and conducts vibrations to the cochlea. The base is attached to the neck via an anterior and posterior arch (also called anterior and posterior crura). On top of the neck is a concave head which articulates with the lentiform nodule (lenticular process) of the incus.

The stapes has a number of attachments:

  • incostapedial (incudostapedial) joint (a synovial joint)
  • annular ligament around the oval window
  • stapedius (muscle attaches to the back of the neck)

History and etymology

"Stapes" is Latin for stirrup.


Head and neck anatomy
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Article Information

rID: 2084
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Tags: refs, stub
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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    Figure 1: stapes illustration
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    Figure 2: CT - axial
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    Figure 3: annotated CT
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