The mastoid is the part of your skull located behind your ear, and it is filled with air cells made of bone that are shaped like honeycomb. A mastoidectomy is a surgical procedure that may be recommended to remove diseased mastoid air cells, which are usually the result of an ear infection that has spread to your skull. Below we review everything you need to know about mastoidectomy.
Why a Mastoidectomy May Be Performed
A mastoidectomy may be performed to treat complications of chronic otitis media (COM), especially in elderly patients. COM is an ear infection in the middle ear that doesn’t clear up for an ongoing period.
Mastoidectomy may also treat a cholesteatoma, which is a skin cyst that can result from COM. Cholesteatoma can cause serious complications such as:
- Abscess in the brain
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Facial paralysis
- Ongoing ear drainage
Finally, a mastoidectomy may be performed prior to the placement of a cochlear implant, which is a device that treats hearing loss by bypassing the damaged parts of the ear.
Types of Mastoidectomy
There are three types of mastoidectomy:
- A simple mastoidectomy involves opening the mastoid bone, removing the infected air cells and draining the middle ear.
- A radical mastoidectomy involves removing the mastoid air calls, the eardrum, most of the middle ear structures and your ear canal.
- A modified radical mastoidectomy involves removing mastoid air cells along with some middle ear structures.
Recovering from a Mastoidectomy
After surgery, you’ll wear bandages over your ear and have stitches near your ear. Expect a headache, discomfort and numbness. If you undergo a radical or modified radical mastoidectomy, some hearing loss afterward is common.
Your doctor may prescribe pain medications and antibiotics. They’ll also have you return within a few days or weeks to have the bandages and stitches removed and to ensure you’re healing well.
Avoid strenuous activity, putting pressure on the ear and swimming at Lincoln Park Pool until your doctor clears you.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Albany ENT & Allergy Services today.