Key points about pediatric mastoiditis
- Mastoiditis is an inflammation or infection of the mastoid bone.
- Mastoiditis is a complication of a middle ear infection. It happens when the infection in the middle ear spreads into the mastoid bone.
- Treatment of mastoiditis usually includes antibiotic medicine and draining the middle ear.
- Mastoiditis is usually treated by an ear nose and throat healthcare provider.
- Complications can include hearing loss, facial nerve damage and meningitis. It’s vital that you and your child go to all follow-up appointments to check for hearing problems and other complications.
Mastoiditis is an inflammation or infection of the mastoid bone. This bone is one of the many bones in the head and is located behind the ear. The mastoid bone is made of cells that drain the middle ear. Mastoiditis may be mild or very serious.
Your child’s healthcare provider will ask questions about your child’s health history and current symptoms. He or she will examine your child. The provider will pay close attention to the ears, nose and throat. He or she will use a lighted instrument called an otoscope to look at the middle ear. Your child may need an X-ray and CT scans of the mastoid area and fluid from the middle ear may be sent to the lab for further review.
Mastoiditis is a complication of a middle ear infection. It happens when the infection in the middle ear spreads into the mastoid bone.
Here are the most common symptoms of mastoiditis:
- Pain, redness or swelling behind the ear
- Ear pain
- An ear lobe that sticks out because of swelling of the mastoid bone
- Irritability or fussiness
- Hearing loss
The symptoms of mastoiditis may look like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. Treatment usually includes antibiotic medicine and draining the middle ear. Your child may need ear tubes or to stay in the hospital. Some children may require other surgery.
Possible complications include:
- Hearing loss
- Serious infection in nearby tissue
- Facial nerve damage
- Inner ear problems
- Inflammation or infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis)
Mastoiditis is usually treated by an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) healthcare provider. It is very important for your child to go to all follow-up appointments to check for hearing problems and other possible complications.
Mastoiditis is a complication of a middle ear infection. It’s very important to treat your child’s ear infection before it spreads to the mastoid bone.
Emeritus Chief, Ear, Nose, and Throat (Otolaryngology)
Director, Aerodigestive Clinic
Director, Vascular Anomalies Clinic
Director, Pediatric Otolaryngology Fellowship
Director, Pediatric Voice Program
Director, Quality Improvement and Safety
Co-Director, Complex Sinusitis Program
Division Chief, Ear, Nose, and Throat (Otolaryngology)
Co-Director, Cochlear Implant Program
Co-Director of the Cochlear Implant Program
Senior Vice President , Children’s National Hospital-Based Specialties Center
Our pediatric otolaryngology experts diagnose and treat a wide range of pediatric ear, nose and throat disorders.
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