Persistence of the stapedial artery: a histopathologic study

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1985 Jun;93(3):298-312. doi: 10.1177/019459988509300304.


Persistence of the stapedial artery is a rare event. Fewer than 30 cases have been reported since the discovery of this artery in 1836. We carried out a histopathologic study on three temporal bones from two patients who had this anomaly, and were able to trace the full course of the artery. In two specimens a large stapedial artery persisted and substituted for the middle meningeal artery. In the third, a small, persistent stapedial artery ended in the arterial plexus surrounding the facial nerve. Persistence is discussed in terms of embryogenesis, developmental theories, histologic findings, and clinical significance. The material suggests that the stapedial artery can persist to varying degrees.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arteries / abnormalities*
  • Arteries / embryology
  • Arteries / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ear Ossicles / blood supply*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Stapes / blood supply*
  • Stapes / embryology
  • Stapes / pathology
  • Temporal Bone / pathology