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Temporal Bone Dissection

  • : Online

The objective of this course is to offer a step-wise learning process starting with 2D illustrations, followed by a progressive introduction to the third dimension, to finally achieving a virtual dissection of the temporal bone.


Before drilling the temporal bone to expose the middle ear structures, an excellent understanding of the locations and spatial relationships of key anatomical structures is needed.

Thorough knowledge of the procedure is important, along with an understanding of basic concepts in temporal bone surgery. Illustrations, photos and videos can be used as initial learning tools (course 1), but they are not sufficient to gain a complete understanding, as they do not offer a spatial view of the operating space (course 2). 

An optional module is available (course 3) that facilitates knowledge transfer to a physical medium, through the dissection of artificial temporal bones.

The course consists of three components: 

  • Course 1: Online surgical anatomy course integrating virtual anatomy of the temporal bone
  • Course 2: Virtual reality temporal bone dissection on a surgical simulator (attendance in your own time at University of Melbourne)
  • Course 3 (Optional): PHACON artificial temporal bone simulation (completion in your own time)


Online learning will be included for all three courses, however the two simulation courses will have additional content related to how to perform the simulation exercises, as well as a reflective log to document the simulation practice.

Course 2 and course 3 will have practice logbook, to enable electronic supervisor verification and feedback on drilling techniques. 


The course is suitable for people exposed to ear surgery such as surgeons, trainees, nurses, medical students, engineers, audiologists, clinical representatives and other interested parties.



The course provides theoretical knowledge, instructional videos and integrates two simulator training programs on how to perform temporal bone dissection. After completing course 1 and 2, the student will be able to:

  • Understand the basic surgical anatomy of the temporal bone
  • Identify the landmarks and relationships between key anatomical structures in the space that guides a surgeon in performing temporal bone surgery
  • Learn to drill and expose the middle ear structures through a step-by-step surgical approach
  • Learn specific surgical tips to improve surgical dissection and help minimise complications

    COURSE UNITS Course 1: Online Learning
  • Anatomical and surgical guide for transmastoid approach, including knowledge to guide the student in a step-by-step manner on how to perform a standard operation and understand the surgical anatomy.
  • Knowledge to understand difficult cases and strategies for success.
  • Reinforcement through case studies on a range of surgical presentations (10 cases).
  • Course 2: Virtual Reality Temporal Bone Surgery Simulator


  • Knowledge on how to use the simulator and the objectives of the simulator learning.
  • Reflective logbook on the simulator exercises with teacher feedback.
  • Course 3: PHACON Artificial Bones Simulator (optional)


  • Knowledge on how to use the artificial bones and the objectives of artificial bone dissection.
  • Verification – upload photos of dissection for teacher feedback and evaluation.
  • Dissection practice in own time and location.
  • (Please note: Bones are not included in the price of the course and will need to be purchased separately). 

    Equipment and Instruments Guide: 
    • A temporal bone holder is helpful, but a block of Play Doh or clay is an excellent substitute to hold your temporal bone.
    • A  well balanced microscope, so it can be moved with the nose.
    • >A few micro-instruments may also be useful, such as a curved needle and bone curette.
    • Suction-irrigation tubes are used for drilling. Irrigation with a continuous flow is recommended.
    • For the drilling, cutting burrs of 5 and 3 mm and diamond burrs of 3, 2 and 1 mm should be sufficient.

    The assessment is submission of self-assessments and 7 case studies.
    A Certificate of Completion is provided upon satisfactory completion of each course.




    Professor Stephen O’Leary

    Associate Professor Jean-Marc Gerard


    Dr Sudanthi Wijewickrema



    Temporal Bone Dissection
    Provider Type
    Education Provider
    20 hours
    Price Details
    Course 1 Full Fee: AUD $300(inc. of GST) Course 2 Full Fee: AUD $300(inc. of GST) Course 3 Full Fee: AUD $165 (inc. of GST) Please note: Bones are not included in the price of the course and will need to be purchased separately. Student will receive a 10%
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