Development and surgical anatomy of the round window niche

Ann Anat. 2006 Mar;188(2):93-101. doi: 10.1016/j.aanat.2005.09.006.


The round window niche is a bony pouch of the tympanic cavity and clinically frequently explored, therefore its topography has fundamental impact on microsurgery. A total of 783 macerated and formalin-fixed temporal bones were used to study the normal anatomy of the round window and its development. The ossification of the niche starts in the 16th fetal week and is complete at birth. A process of the otic capsule, called the cartilage bar, forms the inferior wall of the round window niche. The anterior and superior walls of the niche form by intramembranous ossification, whereas the posterior and inferior walls predominantly form by enchondral ossification. The uneven growth of different walls of the round window niche can alter the shape of the entrance, which results in eight different types of niches: extremely narrow, descending tegmen, anterior septum, bony membrane, open fundus, exostosis, jugular dome and trabeculae.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Middle Aged
  • Round Window, Ear / anatomy & histology*
  • Round Window, Ear / embryology
  • Round Window, Ear / growth & development*
  • Round Window, Ear / surgery