Mastoiditis is an infection of the mastoid bone of the skull. The mastoid is located just behind the ear.
Mastoiditis is most often caused by a middle ear infection (acute otitis media). The infection may spread from the ear to the mastoid bone. The bone has a honeycomb-like structure that fills with infected material and may break down.
The condition is most common in children. Before antibiotics, mastoiditis was one of the leading causes of death in children. The condition does not occur very often today. It is also much less dangerous.
Mastoiditis may be hard to treat because the medicine may not reach deeply into the bone. The condition sometimes requires repeated or long-term treatment. The infection is treated with antibiotic injections, followed by antibiotics taken by mouth.
Surgery to remove part of the bone and drain the mastoid (mastoidectomy) may be needed if antibiotic treatment does not work. Surgery to drain the middle ear through the eardrum (myringotomy) may be needed to treat the middle ear infection.
Tal Marom is in Jaffa, Israel. Marom is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Mastoiditis. He is also highly rated in 9 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Mastoiditis, Otitis, Otitis Media with Effusion, and Osteomyelitis in Children.
Anu Hongisto-Laulajainen is in Helsinki, Finland. Hongisto-Laulajainen is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Mastoiditis. She is also highly rated in 6 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Mastoiditis, Osteomyelitis in Children, Otitis, and Osteomyelitis.
Riste Saat is in Helsinki, Finland. Saat is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Mastoiditis. They are also highly rated in 5 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are Mastoiditis, Osteomyelitis in Children, Osteomyelitis, and Otitis.
Mastoiditis can be cured. However, it may be hard to treat and may come back.
Complications may include:
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of mastoiditis.
Also call if:
Prompt and thorough treatment of ear infections reduces the risk for mastoiditis.
Pelton SI. Otitis externa, otitis media, and mastoiditis. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 61.
Pfaff JA, Moore GP. Otolaryngology. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 62.