CONGENITAL MALFORMATIONS OF THE MIDDLE EAR INTRODUCTION
The embryological development of the middle ear, like that of many complex organs, is complicated and there is scope for considerable abnormality to arise during the first three months of life within the womb. These abnormalities may be associated with abnormal development of the outer ear (see Chapter 9), abnormal development of the inner ear (see Chapter 19), or both. Some malformations have a genetic basis and are inherited. There are several named syndromes, resulting from maldevelopment of the branchial arches and clefts, which are analogous to the gills of fish and form an early stage of development of the human foetus.