A method is described that allows, for the first time, intraoperative vibration modes assessment of the acoustically stimulated stapes by means of scanning laser Doppler interferometry (LDI). The study was designed to answer the following questions: 1) Is LDI practical for taking measurements during surgery? 2) Are the results comparable to the findings in temporal bone preparations? and 3) Do the vibration characteristics of the stapes change after the posterior incudal ligament is detached from the incus? Seven patients with profound bilateral hearing loss who were undergoing cochlear implantation were included in the study. The measurement system was easily applicable for intraoperative measurements and allowed contact-free analysis with very high accuracy. No major differences in the results from the live human subjects and temporal bone preparations were observed. The stapes movement was predominantly pistonlike at the lower frequencies and became complex at higher frequencies. Sacrificing the posterior incudal ligament had no statistically significant effect on stapes vibration.