Ear Pic of the Week – Attic Retraction

This week’s Ear Pic of the Week was taken by Dr. Villasuso of the Cleveland Clinic.

Image taken with the CellScope Oto by Dr. Eloy Villasuso

Image taken with the CellScope Oto by Dr. Eloy Villasuso

Tympanic membrane retraction describes a condition in which a part of the ear drum lies deeper within the ear than its normal position. In this image, Dr. Villasuso points out the retraction of the left tympanic membrane as well as the partially retracted pars tensa has partially eroded part of the incus.

The ear drum comprises two parts, the pars tensa, which is the main part of the ear drum, and the pars flaccida, which is a smaller part of the ear drum located above the pars tensa. Either or both of these parts may become retracted. The retracted segment of ear drum is often known as a retraction pocket. The terms “atelectasis” or sometimes “adhesive otitis media” can be used to describe retraction of a large area of the pars tensa.

Dr. Villasuso marked the attic retraction pocket in this image. For those of us non-clinicians, the attic retraction pocket where the tympanic membrane is adhesed to the superior part of the malleus (at 10 o’clock) and the anterior malleolar ligament (12 o’clock), malleus at 3 o’clock. If that doesn’t help clear up any confusion, we’ll refer you Ear Drum Anatomy.

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