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Revista ORL

versión On-line ISSN 2444-7986


CIFUENTES-NAVAS, Viviana Andrea et al. Anterior epitympanic recess. Bibliographic review. Rev. ORL [online]. 2020, vol.11, n.4, pp.457-466.  Epub 15-Mar-2021. ISSN 2444-7986.

Introduction and objective:

The anterior epitympanic recess (AER) is an anatomical space defined in 1973 by Wigand and Trillsch. It has received many other names, such as: anterior epitympanic compartment, anterior facial recess, anterior atical recess, anterior epitympanum, protympanic recess, supratubaric recess, and geniculate sinus. It is delimited between the tegmen tympani above; the root of the zygoma in the anterior area; the tensor tympani muscle and its mucous fold below; the facial nerve medially and inthe posterior part of the space the bony ridge, the “cog” or gear wheel. We present a description of the anatomy and embryological development of this space, of the pathological processes that most frequently affect it and different the surgical approaches.

Material and methods:

Systematic review of narrative type.


The surgical anatomy of the epitympanum has always been difficult to study due to the complexity of the mucous folds, bags and ligaments. The alteration in ventilation from the tube to the mastoid favors the development of cholesteatoma.


We have considered of interest to carry out this bibliographic review on the anterior epiphympanic recess, due to its complexity, its anatomical variability, the proximity of important structures and the frequent invasion by cholesteatoma.

Palabras clave : temporal bone anatomy; anterior epitympanic recess; supratubal recess; ventilation; epitympanic; cholesteatoma; computed tomography.

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