Middle ear infections that are resistant to antibiotic treatments may stem from a condition related to the mastoid bone of the ear. Our ENT physicians are board –certified in Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, so they are experts at diagnosing cases that require mastoidectomy procedures. Although rare, conditions involving the mastoid bone require immediate attention from the physicians of Suncoast ENT Surgical Specialists, serving the Tampa, Spring Hill and nearby communities in Florida.
A mastoidectomy is the surgical removal of an infected portion of the mastoid bone when medical treatment is not effective. The mastoid bone is the prominent bone located behind the ear. The need for this medical procedure is a rare occurrence today because of antibiotic treatment. However, many patients require this surgery to provide relief from abnormalities in the middle ear or to get rid of lingering infections. A mastoidectomy is frequently performed on children due to their tendency to have middle ear infections.
Indications For Mastoidectomy
Surgeons recommend a mastoidectomy to remove infected air cells due to several conditions, including:
- Ear infection
Air cells are open spaces that are located throughout the mastoid bone. These structures are connected to a cavity inside the upper part of the bone that is connected to the middle ear. Because of the proximity of the mastoid bone and middle ear, infections spread, making surgery necessary when antibiotics do not work adequately.
A benign skin growth called a cholesteatoma can grow inside the middle ear due to an improperly functioning Eustachian tube, birth defect, trauma injury or eardrum perforation. Individuals experience symptoms of hearing loss, increased pressure and fluid leaking inside the ear. Professional ear canal cleaning along with antibiotic treatments is frequently effective, but surgery is often required to restore or preserve hearing.
At Suncoast ENT Surgical Specialists, a mastoidectomy requires general anesthesia to avoid discomfort. Our ENT physicians may recommend one of the following surgical procedures.
Simple or Close Mastoidectomy
A simple or closed mastoidectomy requires making an incision behind the patient’s ear to enter the mastoid bone to remove the infected cells. In addition, a small incision is made in the eardrum to drain excess fluid that is causing pressure.
For a radical mastoidectomy, a surgeon removes a section of bone in order to remove a cholesteatoma. In some patients, it is also necessary to remove the eardrum and other structures inside the middle ear while leaving the stapes to preserve a patient’s ability to hear.
Modified Radical Mastoidectomy
During a modified radical mastoidectomy, a surgeon removes some of the middle ear bones before reconstructing the eardrum with a tympanoplasty to repair the tympanic membrane.
A surgeon will choose the best variety of mastoidectomy after an examination and consultation with a patient.
Recovery from Mastoidectomy
Drainage tubes are required after a mastoidectomy to collect fluid from the infected ears. The tubes remain inside the ears for one to two days before removal. An ear, nose and throat specialist can prescribe medications to patients to reduce discomfort after the surgery. In addition, antibiotics are often recommended to prevent infection in the inner ear after a mastoidectomy.
After a mastoidectomy, most patients have a healthy and clean ear canal that is free of infection. Patients with a loss of hearing due to damage inside the inner ear will need a hearing aid to restore their hearing.
Infections of the ear may affect the mastoid bone, requiring surgical intervention. Our ENT physicians have the experience you need to feel confident about the outcome of your mastoidectomy. To find out if the procedure is right for you, contact our Spring Hill or Tampa office to schedule a personal consultation.