Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Underlying Cause Anatomy

Spinning Sensation Anatomy

To better understand vertigo, it helps to understand the anatomy of the inner ear.

The inner ear contains the semi-circular canals, which also contain fluid and hair cells. The hair cells in the semi-circular canals sense the position of the body and send this information to the brain. This structure allows the body to maintain balance and equilibrium.

Anatomy examples:

  • Pinna: the cartilage and skin of the external ear
  • Ear canal: passageway that leads to the eardrum
  • Tympanic membrane: the eardrum
  • Ossicles: three tiny bones that vibrate when sound waves strike the eardrum
  • Inner ear, or labyrinth: includes the cochlea and semi-circular canals
  • Cochlea: contains fluid and hair cells
  • Semi-circular canals: contains fluid and hair cells

Last Updated: Jan 7, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Spinning Sensation References
  1. Hillier SL, Hollohan V. Vestibular rehabilitation for unilateral peripheral vestibular dysfunction. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Oct 17;(4):CD005397. [17943853]
  2. Kitsko DJ, Dohar JE. Inner ear and facial nerve complications of acute otitis media, including vertigo. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2007 Nov;7(6):444-50. [17986375]
  3. Lemajic-Komazec S, Komazec Z. Initial evaluation of vertigo. Med Pregl. 2006 Nov-Dec;59(11-12):585-90. [17633903]
  4. Myrseth E, Pedersen PH, Moller P, Lund-Johansen M. Treatment of vestibular schwannomas. Why, when and how? Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2007;149(7):647-60; discussion 660. Epub 2007 Jun 11. [17558460]
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