Abstract Laser microdissection (LMD) has been used to isolate groups of cells and single cells from numerous tissues. In this study, we describe a technique for isolating cochlear structures and individual spiral ganglion cells from archival celloidin embedded human temporal bone sections. The specimens isolated are suitable for quantifying the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) common deletion (CD) within these tissues using a real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay. The results presented in this manuscript demonstrate the feasibility of using this LMD technique to study the accumulation of mtDNA deletions in diseases of the ear. To our knowledge, this approach to analyzing archival human temporal bone tissues has not been previously reported.