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J Anat. 2005 Aug;207(2):165-73.

Development of the stapes and associated structures in human embryos.

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Departamento de Anatomía y Embriología Humana II, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain.


The objective of this study was to clarify the development of the stapes in humans and its relationship with the cartilage of the second branchial arch. The study was carried out in 25 human embryos between 6 and 28 mm crown-rump length. The stapes develops at the cranial end of the second branchial arch through an independent anlage of the cartilage of this arch. Between the stapedial anlage and the cranial end of the Reichert's cartilage there is a formation called the interhyale, the internal segment of which gives rise to the tendon of the stapedial muscle. The stapedial anlage is a unique formation with two distinct parts: the superior part that will comprise the base and the inferior part that will be crossed by the stapedial artery during embryonic development and will constitute the limbs and the head of the stapes. According to the results, the otic capsule is not involved in formation of the base of the stapes.

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