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Surg Radiol Anat. 2004 Feb;26(1):39-45. Epub 2003 Oct 16.

The discomallear ligament and the anterior ligament of malleus: an anatomic study in human adults and fetuses.

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Division in Anatomy and Histology, Department of Oral Biology, College of Dentistry, Oral Science Research Center, Yonsei University, 134 Shinchon-Dong, Seodaemoon-Gu, 120-752 Seoul, Korea.


According to some reports, movement of the malleus, resulting from anterior hypertension on the discomallear ligament (DML), could produce aural symptoms related with damage to middle ear structures. The aim of this study was to examine the topographic relationship of the DML and the anterior ligament of malleus (ALM). Four fetuses and 16 adult hemi-sectioned heads were used to determine the anatomic-clinical relevance of DML and ALM in temporomandibular disorder. In fetal specimens, the DML was distinctly interposed between the malleus and the disc of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and the ALM had a structure apparently composed of the superior and inferior lamellae, running anteriorly in continuation with the sphenomandibular ligament (SML) through the future petrotympanic fissure (PTF). In all adult specimens, the DML was inserted into the malleus, and it expanded broadly toward the disc and capsular region of the TMJ in a triangular shape and inserted into the disc and capsule of the TMJ. The two-lamellae structure of the ALM was not distinguishable in adult specimens. The overstretched ALM resulted in movement of the malleus in five cases, but similar tension applied to the DML did not cause any movement of the malleus. This result provides an indication of the clinical significance of the ALM, a ligamentous structure continuous with the SML. It is apparent that the ALM has the potential to cause aural symptoms as a result of damage to the middle ear structure.

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