The Journal of Laryngology & Otology

Review Articles

Review of temporal bone dissection teaching: how it was, is and will be

A P Georgea1 c1 and R Dea2

a1 Department of SpR ENT, University Hospital of North Staffordshire, Stoke on Trent, UK

a2 Department of ENT, Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, UK


Objective: We aimed to review the history of anatomical dissection, and to examine how modern educational techniques will change the way temporal bone dissection is taught to otolaryngology trainees.

Method: Review of the literature using Medline, Embase and PubMed database searches.

Results: Temporal bone anatomy has traditionally been taught using cadaveric specimens. However, resources such as three-dimensional reconstructed models and ‘virtual reality’ temporal bone simulators have a place in educating the otolaryngology trainee.

Conclusion: We should encourage the use of fresh frozen cadaveric temporal bone specimens for future otologists. Artificial three-dimensional models and virtual reality temporal bone simulators can be used to educate junior trainees, thus conserving the scarce resource of cadaveric bones.

(Accepted June 26 2009)

(Online publication December 03 2009)


c1 Address for correspondence: Mr Ajith P George, 17 Moreton Place, Scholar Green, Cheshire ST7 3LZ, UK. E-mail:


Mr A P George takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper.

Competing interests: None declared