A radiologic study of the tympanic bone

Anatomy and surgery

Stephen Rodrigues*, Paul Fagan, Bruce Doust, Kirsten Moffat

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: The aim of this study was to obtain data on the anatomic structure of the tympanic bone using parasagittal reformatted images created from high-resolution axial computed tomographic scans. In particular, the thickness of the bone in the region of the temporomandibular joint and the floor of the external auditory canal was assessed. The findings are discussed with particular emphasis on the relevance to surgery in this area. Background: Surgical management of the tympanic bone forms the basis of canalplasty, which is an essential step in the management of disorders of the external auditory canal. Adequate canalplasty is also crucial in the provision of access for tympanoplasty and to ensure optimal cavity geometry in canal wall down mastoidectomy. Tympanic bone removal is a major step in approaches to the lateral skull base and infratemporal fossa. The tympanic bone is also important because it has critical neurovascular relations in this region of the skull base. Methods: Computed tomography of the tympanic bone (parasagittal reformatted images) in 54 consecutive adults. Results: The mean thickness of the anterosuperior, anteroinferior, and inferior aspects of the tympanic bone are 2.6, 2.8, and 8 mm, respectively. Conclusion: Canalplasty is safely performed in the regions outlined. The technique of canalplasty described in this article is essential for good exposure in external ear, middle ear, mastoid, and skull base surgery.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)796-799
    Number of pages4
    JournalOtology and Neurotology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2003


    • Canalplasty
    • External auditory canal
    • Temporal bone
    • Tympanic bone

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