Mastoid air cells are open, air-containing spaces in the skull behind the ear. A mastoidectomy is the surgical removal of these mastoid air cells. The surgery may extend into the middle ear.
The surgery used to be a common way to treat an infection in the mastoid air cells, which usually came from an ear infection that spread to the nearby bone in the skull. Mastoidectomy is now seldom needed, as the infections are commonly treated with antibiotics. However, this surgery may be used to treat other problems.
by Levon Ter-Markosyan, D.M.D.
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