Middle ear anatomy and physiology is highly complex, yet familiarity is important to perform middle ear surgery and understand surgically relevant ventilation pathways of the ear compartments. The middle ear is divided into five subspaces: the mesotympanum, the retrotympanum posteriorly, the epitympanum superiorly, the protympanum anteriorly, and the hypotympanum inferiorly. The Eustachian tube plays a crucial role in maintaining middle ear aeration and atmospheric pressure. There are two independent aeration routes of the epitympanum. Thanks to the advent of the endoscope, this anatomic and physiologic knowledge has allowed one to understand the pathophysiology of ear diseases, improving surgical concepts.
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