Mastoiditis is a complication of ear infections that, at one time, was one of the leading causes of death in children under two years of age due to how difficult it was to resolve and how ineffective antibiotics can be if administered incorrectly. Today, although its mortality rate is not as high as in other times, it is still a cause for concern since it can cause more delicate processes such as meningitis or cause partial or total hearing loss, which is why It is crucial to recognize the typical signs and symptoms of this condition quickly. This FastlyHealarticle will explain everything you need to know about Mastoiditis: symptoms and treatment.
Table of Contents
What is Mastoiditis
Mastoiditis is an infection of a part of the skull bone called the mastoid process located just behind the ear and where several muscles are inserted. The inside of the mastoid is full of cells which, as a consequence of Mastoiditis, become inflamed and infected, mainly by bacteria of the staphylococcal family, thus producing all the symptoms.
Most cases of Mastoiditis affect children two years of age or younger because at this age, the mastoid cells are still developing, and they are caused by an infection of the middle part of the ear called acute otitis media. This infection can contact the skull bone that corresponds to the mastoid and advance towards this space.
Symptoms of Mastoiditis
The most characteristic symptom of Mastoiditis is inflammation of the region just behind the ear, which turns red and produces pain in the ear that can spread to other areas of the head. This inflammation can displace the pinna outward, making it more prominent.
This inflammation results from the mastoid infection, producing other typical symptoms of diseases such as fever or swollen lymph nodes.
The formation of a subperiosteal abscess is possible, and the production of secretions from the ear. Other symptoms of Mastoiditis can be partial hearing loss on the affected side and inflammation of the tympanic membrane.
How is Mastoiditis diagnosed?
Several pathological procedures can be confused with Mastoiditis, such as postauricular cellulitis, severe external otitis, and inflammation of the postauricular lymph nodes, among others, so making a correct diagnosis is essential for the treatment to be applied appropriately. The diagnosis will always begin by studying the patient’s medical history, where the signs and symptoms related to the condition will be highlighted.
The most reliable method to diagnose Mastoiditis is the radiographic study through a computed tomography of the head to look for evidence of a collection of pus in the mastoid cells or their destruction.
In addition, if there are secretions from the ear, a sample can be taken for its microbiological culture to determine if the bacteria present are related to Mastoiditis, which are usually staphylococci, and choose an effective antibiotic against it. The specific type of bacteria.
Treatment of Mastoiditis
When Mastoiditis is left untreated, there is a high risk of complications that are quite difficult to resolve and can even lead to death, such as destruction of the mastoid, hearing loss, facial paralysis, and even meningitis and dissemination the infection.
The treatment of choice for Mastoiditis is usually the administration of antibiotics; however, the treatment is generally somewhat complicated due to the difficulty in reaching the mastoid region. The administration, initially, intravenously of antibiotics of the penicillin family is usually adequate, after which a regimen of oral antibiotics can be continued. Administration of antibiotics through ear drops can also aid recovery.
When antibiotic therapy does not work after a maximum of three days, or when there are complications such as meningitis or intracranial infection, it is necessary to resort to surgical procedures to remove the part of the affected mastoid, which is known as mastoidectomy and thus ensure the elimination of the infectious process. When a subperiosteal abscess is formed, it is necessary to drain the lesion.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.