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International Journal of Otolaryngology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 519293, 6 pages
Research Article

A Model Analysis of Tensile Stress in the Toadfish Vestibular Membranes

The Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA

Received 12 February 2011; Accepted 11 April 2011

Academic Editor: Collin S. Karmody

Copyright © 2011 Daniel J. Pender. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. A theoretical model analysis of stress in the vestibular membranes has identified a geometrical stress factor incorporating shape, size, and thickness that can be used to assess peak stress in the various chambers. Methods. Using published measurements of the toadfish vestibular membranes made during surgery, the geometrical stress factor can be evaluated for each chamber based on the model. Results. The mean geometrical stress factor is calculated to be the lowest in the semicircular canal (4.4), intermediate in the ampulla (6.0), and the highest in the utricle (17.4). Conclusions. The model predicts that substantial hoop stress disparities exist in the toadfish vestibular labyrinth. Stress is least in the semicircular canal, which therefore appears to be the structure with greatest stability. The utricle is found to be the most stress prone structure in the vestibular labyrinth and therefore appears to be the chamber most vulnerable to distention and potential modification.