Stapes

The stapes is the smallest and most medial of the middle ear ossicles. It is the smallest bone in the standard human skeleton.

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 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 and crura is collectively referred to as the stapes superstructure.

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.

Anatomy: Head and neck
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Article information

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