Coronavirus Update:What patients and families need to know
What is mastoiditis?
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.
How is mastoiditis diagnosed in children?
Your child’s health care 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.
What causes mastoiditis in children?
Mastoiditis is a complication of a middle ear infection. It happens when the infection in the middle ear spreads into the mastoid bone.
What are the symptoms of mastoiditis in children?
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 health care provider for a diagnosis.
How is mastoiditis treated in children?
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.
What are the possible complications of mastoiditis in children?
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) health care provider. It is very important for your child to go to all follow-up appointments to check for hearing problems and other possible complications.
What can I do to prevent mastoiditis in my child?
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.