[mastoid + -itis]
Inflammation of the mastoid sinuses, usually due to the spread of infection from acute otitis media (OM). The disease is relatively rare now that effective antibiotics for OM are generally available. The causative organisms usually are the same as those that cause OM: streptococcal species, Haemophilus influenzae, and Staphylococcus aureus although sometimes mycobacteria or fungi cause the disease.

The patient complains of pain behind the ear and sometimes of fever and systemic symptoms such as malaise and chills. Physical examination may reveal redness and tenderness behind the affected ear, with swelling of the external auditory canal.

Early in the course of the infection, patients may be treated with several days of intravenous antibiotics followed by outpatient medications and close follow-up. Mastoidectomy or other neurosurgical procedures may be needed if the infection has spread to beneath the periosteum, or if intracranial infection or thrombosis of neighboring veins develops. All these complications may be detected with imaging, e.g., computerized tomographic scanning of the head.

Bezold's mastoiditis

SEE: Bezold, Friedrich

mastoiditis externa

Inflammation of the periosteum of the mastoid process.

sclerosing mastoiditis

Mastoiditis in which there is thickening and hardening of trabeculae between mastoid cells.