The structure of the vestibular apparatus has been studied on temporal bones of the guinea pig, rabbit, cat, squirrel monkey and man. This study has been based on microdissection and on sections made for light/phase-contrast and electron microscopy. Microdissection gives a three dimensional view of the membranous labyrinth, and the form and relationships, of the ducts and sacs appear clearly. A technique for the preparation of the vestibular sensory regions is described. After exposure of the maculae and cristae, the statoconial membranes and cupulae are removed for closer study. The entire sensory epithelia are then peeled off and mounted in glycerin or Canada balsam. Light and phase-contrast microscopy of these surface preparations permit identification of every sensory and supporting cell within a given sensory region. Blood vessels and nerves within the sub-epithelial tissues can be similarly studied. The method is fast and reliable and allows of exact orientation, which is a prerequisite for systematic studies of corresponding areas in different animals.
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