A middle ear infection is painful enough as it is, but when it is left untreated, it can cause mastoiditis. Mastoiditis is when the mastoid bone becomes infected, potentially leading to the destruction of bone if not treated quickly. The infection can also spread to the brain and lead to hearing loss. If antibiotics are unsuccessful, mastoid surgery may be necessary.
Causes of Mastoiditis
The leading cause of mastoiditis is ear infections. The bacteria in the middle ear infection spreads to the air cells in the mastoid bones, which prevents fluid from draining effectively. This lack of drainage leads to fluid buildup and results in mastoiditis. Mastoiditis mainly occurs in children and is usually resolved without long-term problems when caught quickly.
Another condition that can cause mastoiditis is cholesteatoma. A cholesteatoma is a type of cyst that develops in the middle ear.
Symptoms of Mastoiditis
The symptoms of mastoiditis include:
- Swelling, redness, and tenderness of the ear lobe and area behind the ear
- Fluid draining from the ear
Diagnosis and quick treatment of Mastoiditis is important
When left untreated, mastoiditis can be dangerous and even life-threatening. It can cause long-term issues like hearing loss and even spread to the brain. The good news is that most cases are treated successfully using antibiotics, and our doctors at ENTACC are well trained to diagnose all conditions of the ear.
Our doctor will first go through a thorough ear exam to look for any infection. Then they may order other tests, like a CT scan or MRI, to rule out any other conditions. After confirming that it’s mastoiditis, our doctors will then develop a treatment plan that will work for you. Some chronic cases may require frequent ear cleanings or surgery if antibiotics fail to work.
Mastoid Surgery: Mastoidectomy
Mastoid surgery may be required if your case of mastoiditis is too severe or if it’s recurring. During a mastoidectomy, a hole is drilled in the mastoid bone to remove the infection. General anesthesia is used during the procedure, and most people can go home the same day.
After surgery, you will most likely have stitches, your ear will be bandaged, and you may experience symptoms like:
- Ear pain
Pain medication and antibiotics are prescribed, and you will schedule a time to come back for a check-up and stitch removal. Post-operation instructions include staying away from strenuous activities, keeping water out of your ear, and avoiding activities that build pressure in your ear, like flying. Complications aren’t common, but some include facial nerve paralysis, sensorineural hearing loss, vertigo, change in taste, and tinnitus.
If you have an ear infection, don’t delay
If you feel pain in your ear or experience any of the symptoms of infection, you should schedule with ENTACC. The key to treating all infections is to catch them quickly. Our physician at ENTACC can diagnose and treat you quickly and effectively.