A mastoidectomy is surgery to remove cells in the hollow, air-filled spaces in the skull behind the ear. These cells are called mastoid air cells.
The surgery used to be a common way to treat an infection in the mastoid air cells. Such infection usually resulted from an ear infection that spread to the nearby bone in the skull.
Why the Procedure Is Performed
Mastoidectomy is now rarely needed, because infections are commonly treated with antibiotics.
However, this surgery may be used to treat other problems, such as:
- Changes in taste
- Hearing loss
- Infection that persists or keeps returning
- Noises in the ear (tinnitus)
- Weakness of the face
Lambert PR. Mastoidectomy. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 142.
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Seth Schwartz, MD, MPH, Otolaryngologist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.