Skip to Content



Mastoiditis is an infection in the mastoid bone of your skull. The mastoid bone is located behind your ear. Mastoiditis is often caused by an ear infection that spreads. Your ear canal swells and traps fluid inside your ear. Trapped fluid causes bacteria to grow and spread to your mastoid bone. Have someone stay with you to watch for complications of mastoiditis such as brain swelling. They may need to call 911 when you are unable to do so.

Ear Anatomy


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Neurological signs,

also called neuro signs, neuro checks, or neuro status may be monitored. During a neuro check, healthcare providers see how your pupils react to light. They may check your memory and how easily you wake up. Your hand grasp and balance may also be tested. Your responses to the neuro checks tell healthcare providers if the infection has spread to your brain.


  • Antibiotics help fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people.
  • Acetaminophen may be given to decrease your pain and fever.


X-ray, CT, or MRI pictures may show bone damage, infection, or an abscess in your skull or brain. You may be given contrast liquid to help the pictures show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.


  • A myringotomy is surgery to help release pressure in your ear by making a small hole in your eardrum. You may also need tubes placed into your ear to relieve pressure and drain fluid.
  • A mastoidectomy is surgery to remove any infected part of your mastoid bone. You may need this surgery if your condition is severe, other treatments are not working, or you have a fever that lasts more than two days. You may also need a mastoidectomy if you have an abscess inside your mastoid bone.
  • Drainage of an abscess in your ear, mastoid bone, or other areas in your skull may be needed. An abscess is an area that is swollen with fluid. The swelling may put pressure on your brain and prevent it from working properly.


Mastoiditis may spread to other bones in your head, face, and neck. Your symptoms may come back, even after treatment. The infection may cause bone loss if it is not treated right away. Mastoiditis may cause permanent hearing loss. Mastoiditis may also result in a brain infection, seizures, facial nerve damage, brain swelling, or meningitis. Meningitis is swelling of the tissue (meninges) that surrounds your brain and spine. Mastoiditis may also cause blood clots in your sinuses.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Mastoiditis (Inpatient Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.