Original Publication
Open Access

A Self-Testing Guide to the Bony Features of the Temporal Bone

Published: September 20, 2010 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.8169

Included in this publication:

  • Instructor's Guide.doc
  • Final Overview of Nerves and Vessels.doc
  • Temporal Bone Module (Proficient [faster] Review) with Lesions.pps
  • Temporal Bone Module (Student Learner).pps

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


The interactive temporal bone self-testing guide is expected to be used by novice Dental or Medical Students learning the anatomy of the temporal bone as it relates to the convoluted nerves that pass through the bone, muscle attachments, middle and inner ear mechanisms. Temporal bone anatomy is traditionally difficult for students to learn and few texts or atlases provide a close up view of this bone's intricate features. Lesions due to trauma, inflammation, or tumors in any part of this bone lead to clinical issues from vertigo, hearing impairment, autonomic disturbances, gustatory disorders, etc.

The temporal bone module is divided into four parts; the first part provides an overview of the educational objectives. The second part gives a brief introduction on how to use this module. This is followed by an interactive table of contents and the final part is the actual bony features. The temporal bone presentation is provided anatomically first by presenting external views followed by internal views. Magnified views are also provided for some of the more difficult bony areas. This PowerPoint-based aid is used to supplement either traditional Gross Anatomy and/or Neuroscience course material, as well as support case based learning approaches. Additionally, this resource is expected to also be used by residents in their specialty for basic anatomical review.

I have been essentially testing the software with our first year dental students to improve the number of structures identified, their presentation, and ease of use. After initially presenting this material and with some additions suggested from students, the course director for otolaryngology residents, Dr. Jeff Laitman at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, asked to use the module in his review of pertinent anatomy. So far, the survey results from those using the module have been significantly in favor of using the module to learn/review the anatomy.

Educational Objectives

  1. To be able to identify the external bony features of the Temporal Bone from the various anatomical views.
  2. To be able to identify the middle ear bony features, muscle attachments, and the ear ossicles.
  3. To be able to trace the entrance, path, and exit of all nerves associated with the temporal bone.
  4. To be able to recognize how sound is transmitted from the external ear to the inner ear.
  5. To be able to identify the components of the inner ear.
  6. To be able to identify the relevant intracranial features associated with the temporal bone.

Author Information

  • Bob Hutchins, PhD: Baylor College of Dentistry, A Member of The Texas A&M University

None to report.

None to report.

Prior Presentations
Hutchins B. Temporal Bone: a self-testing guide to the bony features of the temporal bone. Presented at: American Association of Clinical Anatomists Meeting; July 2008; Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Hutchins B. A self-testing guide to the bony features of the temporal bone. MedEdPORTAL. 2010;6:8169. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.8169