What is mastoiditis?
Mastoiditis is the inflammation of the bony protrusion of the skull just behind the ear canal. The mastoid process is a part of the temporal bone and has hollow air spaces known as the mastoid antrum and mastoid cells. In mastoiditis it is the mucosal membrane lining the mastoid antrum and mastoid cells system that becomes inflamed. Due to its close proximity to the ear, mastoiditis tends to arises as a complication of acute infections of the middle ear (otitis media). It is a potentially life threatening condition should the infection spread to the brain which lies near to the mastoid process.
Reasons for Mastoiditis
Mastoiditis occurs from the spread of infective organisms from the middle ear to the air cells in the mastoid process. The infection leads to pus formation within the narrow bony air spaces increasing the pressure in the air cells. The rate of pus production usually exceeds the rate of the pus drainage through the the eustachian tube and perforated eardrum. Swelling of the mucosal lining also hampers proper drainage of pus.