Mastoiditis is an infection of the mastoid bone of the skull. The mastoid is located just behind the ear.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Mastoiditis is usually caused by a middle ear infection (
Mastoiditis usually affects children. Before antibiotics, mastoiditis was one of the leading causes of death in children. Now it is a relatively uncommon and much less dangerous condition.
Drainage from the ear Ear pain or discomfort
- Fever, may be high or suddenly increase
- Hearing loss
- Redness of the ear or behind the ear
- Swelling behind ear, may cause ear to stick out
Signs and tests
An examination of the head may reveal signs of mastoiditis. The following tests may show an abnormality of the mastoid bone:
CTscanof the ear
Head CT scan
A culture of drainage from the ear may show bacteria.
Mastoiditis may be difficult to treat because medications may not reach deep enough into the mastoid bone. It may require repeated or long-term treatment. The infection is treated with antibiotics by injection, then antibiotics by mouth.
Surgery to remove part of the bone and drain the mastoid (
Mastoiditis is curable with treatment. However, it may be hard to treat and may come back.
- Destruction of the mastoid bone
Dizzinessor vertigo Epidural abscess Facial paralysis Meningitis
- Partial or complete
- Spread of infection to the brain or throughout the body
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of mastoiditis.
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:
You have an
ear infectionthat does not respond to treatment or is followed by new symptoms
Your symptoms do not respond to treatment
Promptly and completely treating ear infections reduces the risk of mastoiditis.