What is the anatomy relevant to cerumen impaction removal?

Updated: May 09, 2018
  • Author: F Carl van Wyk, MB, ChB, MRCS, FRCS(Edin); Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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The ear is composed of external, middle (tympanic cavity) (malleus, incus, and stapes), and inner (labyrinth) (semicircular canals, vestibule, cochlea) portions. The auricle and external acoustic meatus (or external auditory canal) compose the external ear. The external ear functions to collect and amplify sound, which then gets transmitted to the middle ear. The skin of the external ear canal is unique in that it exhibits directional desquamation or growth. This allows the normal external ear to be self-cleaning. If a dot of ink is placed on the tympanic membrane and the patient followed up over weeks the ink dot will be seen to move outwards and in a circular pattern.

The tympanic cavity (middle ear) extends from the tympanic membrane to the oval window and contains the bony conduction elements of the malleus, incus, and stapes. The primary functionality of the middle ear is that of bony conduction of sound via transference of sound waves in the air collected by the auricle to the fluid of the inner ear. The inner ear, also called the labyrinthine cavity, is essentially formed by the membranous labyrinth encased in the bony osseous labyrinth. The labyrinthine cavity functions to conduct sound to the central nervous system as well as to assist in balance.

For more information about the relevant anatomy, see Ear Anatomy.

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