Mastoidectomy: Reasons, Procedure, Aftercare, Recovery, Complications, - Healthroid

Mastoidectomy: Reasons, Procedure, Aftercare, Recovery, Complications, & More

Mayank Pandey
Written by Mayank Pandey on March 17, 2023

Mastoidectomy is a surgical procedure involving removing the mastoid bone, which is located behind the ear. This operation is typically performed to treat chronic otitis media, an infection of the middle ear that can spread to the mastoid bone and cause serious complications. Mastoidectomy may also be necessary to remove tumors or other growths in this area.

During a mastoidectomy, the surgeon makes an incision behind the ear and removes part of the mastoid bone using specialized instruments. The procedure may also involve removing damaged or infected tissue from the middle ear. In some cases, a small tube known as a tympanostomy tube may be inserted into the eardrum to help with drainage and prevent future infections.

While mastoidectomy can effectively treat many conditions of the middle ear and mastoid bone, it does carry some risks. These include bleeding, infection, hearing loss, facial nerve damage, balance problems, and rare but serious complications such as brain abscesses or meningitis. Patients should discuss their individual risks with their surgeon before undergoing this procedure.

Reasons for Mastoidectomy

A mastoidectomy is a surgical procedure that involves removing some or all of the mastoid bone in the skull. There are several reasons why a person may need to undergo this surgery. One common reason is if they have an infection in the middle ear that has spread to the mastoid bone, causing it to become inflamed and painful. Removing part or all of the bone can help alleviate these symptoms and prevent further complications.

Another reason for mastoidectomy is if a person has cholesteatoma, which is the growth of skin cells within the middle ear. Cholesteatomas can cause damage to surrounding bones and tissues, leading to hearing loss, dizziness, and facial muscle weakness. Surgery is often necessary to remove the cholesteatoma and repair any damage it may have caused.

Finally, some people may require a mastoidectomy as part of treatment for certain types of tumors located in or around the ear. In these cases, removing part or all of the mastoid bone may be necessary to safely access and remove cancer. While a mastoidectomy can be a complicated surgery with potential risks and side effects, it can also provide significant relief for those experiencing chronic pain or hearing loss related to their ear condition.

Procedure of Mastoidectomy

Mastoidectomy is a surgical procedure that removes infected or damaged mastoid air cells. These air-filled spaces are located in the temporal bone, which is located behind the ear. The procedure is typically performed to treat chronic ear infections that have not responded to antibiotics and other treatments.

The surgery itself can be performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation. During the procedure, an incision is made behind the ear to access the affected area. The surgeon will then remove any diseased tissue and bone from the mastoid air cells. In some cases, a portion of the eardrum may also need to be removed.

After surgery, patients will typically need to stay in the hospital for several days for observation and recovery. They may experience some pain, swelling, and drainage from their ear during this time. Most patients can return to normal activities within a few weeks after surgery but should avoid any strenuous activity or heavy lifting until they have fully healed.


Postoperative Care and Recovery

Postoperative care and recovery after a mastoidectomy are crucial to ensure the patient’s complete healing. The first 24 hours after the surgery are critical, and the patient must remain under close observation by healthcare professionals. Pain management is essential, and medications should be administered as prescribed. The head of the bed should be elevated at a minimum of 30 degrees to prevent any complications.

It is common for patients to experience dizziness or vertigo after a mastoidectomy due to damage to the inner ear during surgery. Patients must avoid sudden movements that can exacerbate these symptoms until they subside, which usually takes about two weeks. Any discharge from the ear should be monitored closely, and if it persists or has an unpleasant odor, it may indicate an infection that requires medical attention.

Recovery time varies depending on each patient’s unique circumstances but typically lasts four to eight weeks. During this period, patients must avoid any strenuous activities such as exercise or lifting heavy objects that can put pressure on their heads. They should follow up with their surgeon regularly to monitor their progress and address any concerns promptly.

Complications of a Mastoidectomy

Complications of a mastoidectomy can occur despite the procedure being regarded as generally safe. One such complication is an injury to the facial nerve, which can result in weakness or paralysis of muscles in the face. This is especially true for those who have undergone multiple surgeries on the ear, as scarring and tissue damage increases the risk.

Another potential complication is hearing loss, which may be temporary or permanent depending on how much of the inner ear was affected during surgery. In some cases, revision surgery may be necessary to improve hearing quality. Other complications include balance problems, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and infection.

To minimize risks associated with a mastoidectomy, it’s essential to choose an experienced surgeon and follow all post-operative instructions carefully. Patients should also attend all follow-up appointments to monitor healing progress and address any concerns that arise promptly.

Alternatives to a Mastoidectomy

Mastoidectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the mastoid bone. This bone is located behind the ear and is responsible for air cell formation and drainage in the middle ear. The most common reason for a mastoidectomy is to treat chronic otitis media, an middle ear infection that can spread to the mastoid bone. However, this surgery carries risks such as hearing loss, facial nerve damage, and meningitis. As a result, some patients may seek alternative treatments.

One alternative to a mastoidectomy is antibiotics therapy. Antibiotics can be effective in treating acute otitis media or early stages of chronic otitis media without requiring surgery. However, prolonged antibiotic use can lead to other complications such as drug resistance and allergic reactions.

Another alternative treatment for chronic otitis media is ventilation tube insertion into the eardrum. This procedure aims to promote better airflow within the middle ear by draining excess fluid from it. Although this treatment does not involve bone removal like mastoidectomy does, it still carries some risks such as perforation of the eardrum or tube blockage over time.

In conclusion, while mastoidectomy remains an effective option for treating certain conditions related to middle ear infections and their complications, there are alternatives available that may suit patients who prefer less invasive procedures or cannot tolerate surgery-related risks due to health reasons or personal preferences.


In conclusion, mastoidectomy is a surgical procedure involving removing the mastoid bone. This procedure may be necessary to treat various ear conditions such as chronic otitis media or cholesteatoma. While it is generally considered safe and effective, there are risks associated with this surgery.

One of the main concerns with mastoidectomy is the risk of complications such as infection, bleeding, or injury to nearby structures. Patients undergoing this procedure will need to be closely monitored by their doctors and follow all post-operative instructions carefully to minimize these risks.

Despite these potential challenges, many patients find that mastoidectomy provides relief from their ear symptoms and improves their quality of life. If you are considering this surgery, it is important to discuss your options thoroughly with your doctor and determine whether mastoidectomy is the right choice for you.

Published on March 17, 2023 and Last Updated on March 20, 2023 by: Mayank Pandey

Mayank Pandey
Written by Mayank Pandey on March 17, 2023

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