Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Underlying Cause Anatomy

Vertigo 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 Vertigo 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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