ABSTRACT: Anaesthesia of the external ear canal (external acoustic meatus) is usually performed by blocking both the great and internal auricular nerves by regional infiltration. However, exact landmarks for blocking the internal auricular nerve to accomplish effective anaesthesia have not been described yet. In this study, detailed anatomical dissection of the equine external ear canal and its nerve supply was carried out on fifteen cadaver heads. Tissue samples of the dissected nerves were taken from two cadaver heads processed and were evaluated microscopically. Prior to the dissection, the region of interest was evaluated ultrasonographically, and injection of a local anaesthetic was simulated with an injection of methylene blue on ten cadaver heads. The tympanic membranes of three cadaver heads were obtained by microdissection and processed for microscopic evaluation. The entrance point of the internal auricular nerve, which is a branch of the facial nerve, into the ear canal is formed by the styloid process of the auricular cartilage. Using ultrasound, the styloid process presented as a thin hyperechoic line 2.17-2.97 cm deep, based on the skin surface. Landmarks for performing a complete and reliable anaesthesia of the external ear canal were established, and the simulated anaesthesia with methylene blue injection was evaluated as successful in all ten cases. Additionally, the histological composition of the equine tympanic membrane is described and illustrated.
Anantomia Histologia Embryologia 03/2012; · 0.90 Impact Factor