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CHRONIC EAR INFECTIONS

Otitis Media

Chronic otitis media is a long lasting infection of the middle ear. This frequently results in a persisitent perforation of the ear drum. When the ear is infected, drainage through the ear canal will occur. When this type of infection occurs, if left untreated the middle ear hearing bones may be destroyed. As the disease process progresses, skin from the ear drum and ear canal may become trapped in the middle ear, leading to cholesteatoma.

Initial treatment of chronic otitis media may include antibiotic ear drops and avoiding water contamination of the ear. When a perforation persists, the individual may require surgical repair. This type of surgery is referred to as a Tympanoplasty and may be performed with a Mastoidectomy. The mastoid “honeycomb” of air cells behind and above the ear canal that communicates with the middle ear. Frequently the mastoid is involved with chronic otitis media and must be addressed in the management of these individuals.

If surgery is required, this is typically an outpatient procedure with a recovery of a few days to a week.