The canine jaw-ear connection: The malleomandibular and tympanomandibular ligaments

Document Type


Publication Date



In the human, two ligaments derived from the first embryonic pharyngeal (branchial) arch that unite the mandible and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) with the middle ear have been identified as the discomalleolar ligament (DML) and sphenomandibular ligament (SML), also known as the malleomandibular ligament (MML), anterior ligament of the malleus (AML), and tympanomandibular ligament (TML). Neither of these structures has been previously described in the dog. The homologue of the human sphenomandibular ligament (SML) exists in the dog and is represented as a fibrous remnant of Meckel's cartilage. In the newborn puppy, the ligament is a true malleomandibular ligament (MML), extending from the medial mandible to the rostral process of the malleus with no intermittent attachments. In the adult dog, the ligament is entrapped within a bony passageway, likely due to the development and ossification of the tympanic bulla, making it difficult to grossly view the complete course of the ligament. The majority of the ligamentous fibers attach near the tympanic bulla in the adult dog, thus this portion of the ligament has been named the tympanomandibular ligament (TML). Those fibers of the ligament not attaching near the tympanic bulla appear to continue through a canal, located between the tympanic annulus and the surrounding tympanic bone, to become continuous with a connective tissue sheet within the cavity of the middle ear that has attachments to the malleus and incus. Tension on the adult canine TML did not result in movement of the malleus.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Anatomical record (Hoboken, N.J. : 2007)

First Page


Last Page


This document is currently not available here.