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auditory ossicles

The 3 diminutive bones of the middle ear. The malleus is attached to the inner face of the tympanic membrane at the manubrium and articulates at its head with the body of the incus; the incus in turn articulates at its lenticular process with the head of the stapes; the stapes is attached at its base by a ligamentous ring to the oval window of the vestibule. Sound waves channelled though the external acoustic canal (auditory duct) to the tympanic membrane are amplified by the auditory ossicles.

The vibrations received at the oval window are passed down the cochlea; the relative movement of the basilar and tectorial membranes leads to deflection of the stereocilia of the hair cells in the organ of Corti, which generates an influx of K+ ions and production of electrical signals that travel via the cochlear nerve to the auditory complex.


The three small bones of the middle ear: the malleus (hammer), the incus (anvil) and the stapes (stirrup). These bones help carry sound from the eardrum to the inner ear.
Mentioned in: Otitis Media, Stapedectomy


accessory bones (see Table 1); accessory ossicles are subject to the same range of trauma or pathologies as constant (skeletal) bones
Table 1: Accessory bones in the foot
Accessory bone in the footLocation
Os tibiale externum (accessory navicular)Within tibialis posterior tendon, adjacent to proximal part of navicular tuberosity
Os trigonumPosterior margin of talus
Os peroneumWithin peroneus longus tendon, adjacent to inferior lateral border of cuboid/calcaneocuboid joint
Os vesalianumAdjacent to fifth metatarsal base
Os intermetatarseumBetween bases of first and second metatarsals
Os interphalangeusWithin insertion of flexor hallucis longus tendon, adjacent to plantar area of hallux interphalangeal joint
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