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Skeletal System



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Quick Facts

Location: Tympanic cavity of the middle ear.

Bone Type: Irregular bone.

Key Features: Head, neck, base, and anterior and posterior limbs.

Articulates With: Incus.

Arterial Supply: Anterior tympanic and stylomastoid arteries.

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Related parts of the anatomy

Key Features & Anatomical Relations

The stapes is the smallest of the three auditory ossicles, the other two being the malleus and incus. It is a small, stirrup-like bone that is found in the tympanic cavity of the middle ear in the temporal bone. It is classified as an irregular bone and includes the following bony features:

- parts: head, neck, base, and anterior and posterior limbs;

- landmarks: articular facet of head of stapes.

More information regarding these bony features can be found in the Parts and Landmarks tabs for this bone.

The stapes is located posteromedial to the incus, articulates with the incus at the incudostapedial joint and attaches to the vestibular window of the labyrinthine wall.


Ossification of the stapes occurs at one ossification center, which is found in its base and appears in utero during the fourth month. The stapes is fully developed by the time of birth (Standring, 2016).

List of Clinical Correlates

- Dislocation

- Incus ankylosis

- Cholesteatoma


Standring, S. (2016) Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice. Gray's Anatomy Series 41st edn.: Elsevier Limited.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products


ScienceDirect image

stirrup: component of conventional lower limb orthoses connected distally in the shoe and attached proximally to the ankle joints of the orthosis.

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