Understanding Mastoiditis As An Ear Infection


Mastoiditis is a bacterial infection of air cells surrounding the middle and inner ear. These mastoid air cells constitutes the mastoid bone, protecting the delicate structure of the ear and regulating ear pressure when required. This condition can develop, often as a direct consequence of otitis media, when the cells become inflamed or infected. It can cause serious complications, if the infection spreads outside. The disorder generally found in children is acute mastoiditis, while most people also suffer from chronic disability.

Middle ear infection is a primary cause of Mastoiditis, and it is often developed when bacteria from the middle ear can travel into the mastoid air cells. In some rare cases, cholesteatoma, a growing collection of skin cells may lead to block of ear drainage.

What Are Some Of The Most Common Symptoms?

  • Abnormal drainage from the ear
  • Swollen ear lobe
  • Drooping and budging of the ear
  • Lethargy, fever and irritability
  • Tenderness and redness behind the ear

Some serious complications include partial hearing loss, vision changes, meningitis, vomiting, nausea and facial paralysis.

Infection Diagnosis 

Immediate attention of a physician is required in case of swelling, redness or tenderness of the ear. One should check for a possible infection, since this condition is rare without a coinciding infection. The doctor may keep a sample for culture collection. If anything serious or complicated is suspected, you may have to undergo a CT scan. If any sort of pus or fluid is found anywhere in the spine, mastoid, neck and ear, it will have to be drained and cultured, to find an antibiotic.

What Treatments Are Recommended For Mastoiditis?

In both the cases, whether chronic or acute mastoiditis, Antibiotic therapy is a preferred treatment. In case your child is found to be suffering from acute mastoiditis, he/she will be treated and taken care by an expert otolaryngologist, who specializes in ENT disorders. Intravenous line will be used to give antibiotics, in order to treat the infection.

Myringotomy is another surgical method required for draining the fluid from the middle ear. During this surgery, a small hole is created in the eardrum for fluid drainage and pressure relief from the middle ear. In order to allow for continual drainage, a small tube may be inserted into the middle ear, which will eventually fall out after 6 to 12 months.

On the other hand, chronic conditions can be treated with regular ear cleanings, eardrops and oral antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. In case, it doesn’t work, you may have to switch to surgical methods or any other suggested measures.

Mastoiditis can turn into something serious and life- threatening, if kept untreated for a long time. One can face serious health complications such as brain abscess, meningitis, blood clot and hearing loss. If you take proper treatment measures and appropriate drainage, you can recover quickly, and avoid any serious issues. Give us a call today to discuss any sort of ENT disorders that your child may be facing. We’ll be glad to assist you in treating the same.