Mastoiditis is swelling or infection of the small air cells in the mastoid bone of the ear. Over time, this can cause the bone tissue to break down.
Mastoiditis is most often caused by a bacterial infection due to a long lasting middle ear infection.
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This problem is more common in young children. Things that may raise the risk are:
- A weak immune system
- Recent surgery to remove diseased mastoid air cells
Problems may be:
- Swelling and redness behind the ear, pushing it forward
- Ear pain
- Discharge from the ear
- Decreased hearing
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You will be asked about your history of ear infections. A physical exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
Treatment options are:
Antibiotics will be given to treat infection. This is often done by IV and then by mouth.
Mastoiditis is most often caused by an ear infection. Getting treated for an ear infection may lower the risk of mastoiditis.
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
Acute mastoiditis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/acute-mastoiditis. Updated July 11, 2018. Accessed December 3, 2019.
Kordeluk S, Kraus M, et al. Challenges in the management of acute mastoiditis in children. Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2015 May;17(5):479.
Mastoiditis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/ear-nose-and-throat-disorders/middle-ear-and-tympanic-membrane-disorders/mastoiditis. Updated March 2019. Accessed December 3, 2019.
Mastoiditis. NHS Choices website. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/mastoiditis/Pages/Introduction.aspx. Updated January 13, 2017. Accessed December 3, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD Last Updated: 12/3/2019