CT appearances of ossicular injuries

Radiographics. 1997 Nov-Dec;17(6):1445-54. doi: 10.1148/radiographics.17.6.9397457.


Trauma of the ossicular chain is a frequent complication of temporal bone injury. Skull trauma from blows to the temporal, parietal, or occipital region (with or without fracture of the temporal bone) is the main cause of ossicular injury; other modes of injury are rare. Ossicular injury usually occurs as a dislocation, of which there are five types: incudostapedial joint separation, incudomalleolar joint separation, dislocation of the incus, dislocation of the malleoincudal complex, and stapediovestibular dislocation. Fracture of the malleus, incus, or stapes is uncommon. High-resolution computed tomography is the method of choice for evaluation of ossicular trauma. Joint separation and fracture of the stapes are seen on axial images; coronal images may aid visualization. Both axial and coronal images are needed for evaluation of a dislocated malleus or incus. Fracture of the malleus or incus is detected with axial or coronal images; reformatted images may also be useful.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ear Ossicles / diagnostic imaging
  • Ear Ossicles / injuries*
  • Female
  • Head Injuries, Closed / diagnostic imaging
  • Hearing Loss, Conductive / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Joint Dislocations / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Skull Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Temporal Bone / diagnostic imaging
  • Temporal Bone / injuries
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*