It results in inflammation of the inner structures
In mild infections, fluid develops in the middle ear and is common in children. In more severe infections, pus may develop in the middle ear causing an acute infection. This may result in a perforation of the ear drum.
These are often caused by bacteria or fungus.
Inner ear and chronic middle ear infections can result in permanent sensori-neural hearing loss. Chronic middle ear infections may also result in eardrum perforations that do not heal. Sometimes, middle ear infections may be the result of a cholesteatoma (a collection of squamous debris), a serious condition which can potentially result in major complications such as infections involving the brain
The common outer ear infections are normally treated in the Clinic by thorough cleaning (aural toilet) under microscopy and the appropriate medications applied. Surgery may be required to eradicate chronic middle ear infections and cholesteatoma, as well as to repair eardrum perforations that do not close spontaneously (myringoplasty).
Middle ear surgery may require mastoidectomy which is removal of part of the ear bone known as the mastoid. A risk of such surgery is injury to the facial nerve which is located in the mastoid bone. However, in experienced hands, the risk of injuring the facial nerve is remote. Knowledge of such racial anatomical variations reduces the risk of facial nerve injury during mastoid surgery in our local patients (Low 1999)
Low WK. Surgical Anatomy of the facial nerve in Chinese mastoids. ORL Journal 1999:61:341-4.
Senior Consultant Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeon
Sub-specialty in Otology & Neuro-otology
MBBS (S’pore), PhD (S’pore)
FRCSG, FRCSEd, DLORCSEng, FAMS (ORL)
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