The malleus, or hammer, is a hammer-shaped small bone or ossicle
of the middle ear
. It connects with the incus
, and is attached to the inner surface of the eardrum
. The word is Latin for 'hammer' or 'mallet'. It transmits the sound vibrations from the eardrum
to the '' incus
The malleus is a bone situated in the middle ear. It is the first of the three ossicles
, and attached to the tympanic membrane
. The head of the malleus is the large protruding section, which attaches to the incus
. The head connects to the neck of malleus. The bone continues as the handle (or manubrium) of malleus, which connects to the tympanic membrane.
Between the neck and handle of the malleus, lateral and anterior processes emerge from the bone.
The bone is oriented so that the head is superior and the handle is inferior.
Embryologically, the malleus is derived from the first pharyngeal arch
along with the '' incus
It grows from Meckel's cartilage
The malleus is one of three ossicles
in the middle ear
which transmit sound from the tympanic membrane (ear drum)
to the inner ear
. The malleus receives vibrations from the tympanic membrane and transmits this to the incus.
The malleus may be palpated
during ear surgery
It may become fixed in place due to surgical complications, causing hearing loss.
This may be corrected with further surgery.
Several sources attribute the discovery of the malleus to the anatomist
and philosopher Alessandro Achillini
. The first brief written description of the malleus was by Berengario da Carpi
in his ''Commentaria super anatomia Mundini'' (1521). Niccolo Massa
's ''Liber introductorius anatomiae'' described the malleus in slightly more detail and likened both it and the incus
to little hammers terming them ''malleoli''.
The ''malleus'' is unique to mammals, and evolved from a lower jaw bone
in basal amniotes
called the articular
, which still forms part of the jaw joint in reptiles and birds.
* Bone terminology
* Evolution of mammalian auditory ossicles
* Ligaments of malleus
* Terms for anatomical location
Bones of the head and neck