If your doctor has recommended a mastoidectomy, you may have a lot of questions, like what’s a mastoid? The mastoid is the part of your skull located behind your ear. It’s filled with air cells made of bone that are shaped like honeycomb. A mastoidectomy is a surgical procedure that is usually recommended to remove disease mastoid air cells. Mastoid air cells can become diseases as a result of an ear infection that has spread to your skull. In this post, we review everything you should know about a mastoidectomy.
Why Is a Mastoidectomy Performed?
There are several reasons a mastoidectomy may be performed.
First, it may be performed to treat complications of chronic otitis media, especially in elderly patients. Chronic otitis media is an ear infection in the middle ear that doesn’t clear up for an ongoing time.
Second, it may treat a cholesteatoma, which is a skin cyst that can result from chronic otitis media. Cholesteatoma can cause serious complications, including:
- Abscess in the brain
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Facial paralysis
- Ongoing ear drainage
Third, a mastoidectomy is sometimes 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.
What Are the 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.
What Is Recovery from a Mastoidectomy Like?
Expect to wear bandages over your ear and have stitches behind your ear after surgery. You may experience a headache, discomfort and numbness. In some cases, like after a radical or modified radical mastoidectomy, you may experience some hearing loss.
After surgery, your doctor will instruct you to take pain medications and antibiotics. You’ll also have to return a few days or weeks later to have bandages and stitches removed and for your doctor to ensure you’re healing properly.
Be sure to avoid strenuous activity, putting pressure on the ear and swimming at Watauga County Pools until your doctor clears you to do so.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call Blue Ridge ENT today.