Microscopic surgery is the gold standard for surgeries of the middle ear, mastoid, and lateral skull base. Microscopic ear surgery is performed at a very high level, with very good results with respect to control of pathologies and hearing function.
The ear contains some of the smallest structures that can be operated upon. For example, the three bones of the middle ear (called ossicles) are the smallest bones in the human body. The smallest of these (the stapes) is so tiny that seven of them could fit across a penny. In order to perform surgery on anatomy this delicate, surgeons often use a microscope.
Microscopes have been used in otology for over seventy years. They make structures appear larger and have a very bright light. The microscope produces three-dimensional images. A microscope can also be used to perform surgery through the ear canal; however, sometimes larger incisions or more bone removal is required in order to see well.