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What is Mastoidectomy?

Mastoidectomy is a surgery performed to remove diseased mastoid air cells from the mastoid bone located in the skull behind the ear. The mastoid bone is filled with air cells made of bone and looks similar to a honeycomb. The term “cells” refers to the enclosed spaces of the bone.

Types of Mastoidectomy

The various types of Mastoidectomy procedures are:

  • Simple Mastoidectomy: During this procedure, the mastoid bone is opened, infected mastoid air cells are removed, and the middle ear is drained.
  • Modified Radical Mastectomy: This procedure is reserved for moderately severe mastoid disease. During this procedure, the infected mastoid cells and a few of the infected structures of the middle ear are removed.
  • Radical Mastectomy: This procedure is necessary for severe mastoid disease. In addition to the mastoid cells, most of the middle ear, the eardrum, and the ear canal is removed.

Indications for Mastoidectomy

A mastoidectomy may be indicated in the following conditions:

  • Infection or inflammation of mastoid air cells
  • Chronic middle ear infections (otitis media)
  • Removal of abnormal growth at the base of the skull
  • Placement of a cochlear implant to improve hearing

Preparation for Mastoidectomy

Specific instructions will be provided by your surgeon. In general, you should:

  • Inform your surgeon about any health conditions, allergies, and medications you are taking.
  • Avoid smoking as it will slow down the healing process.
  • Follow the pre-surgery dietary restrictions.

Mastoidectomy Procedure

  • The procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia.
  • A surgical incision will be made behind your ear.
  • Access is gained to the middle ear cavity with a bone drill.
  • The infected part of the mastoid bone and other infected tissue will be removed.
  • The incision is closed with sutures and a bandage is applied.
  • Following the procedure, you will be moved to the recovery room for a short period of observation.

Recovery after Mastoidectomy Procedure

  • You may require 1 to 2 hours to recover from the general anesthesia before being discharged home.
  • There may be temporary ear discomfort. Your surgeon will provide medications to alleviate symptoms as necessary.
  • Complete healing may take 4-6 weeks. Avoid getting the ear wet, manipulating the ear, or performing any strenuous activity during this period.
  • Keep your follow-up visits as recommended to ensure a positive surgical outcome.

Risks Associated with Mastoidectomy

Mastoidectomy is a very safe procedure that can help treat chronic ear infections and prevent the spread of infection to the brain and other adjacent anatomical structures; however, as with any other surgery, there is a minimal risk of complications that include infection, bleeding, delayed healing, nerve injury, dizziness, and decreased hearing.