Necrotizing External Otitis
Alternate Names : Malignant Otitis Externa, Necrotizing External Otitis
Malignant external otitis is a serious ear infection that
can destroy the skin of the ear canal and progress to involve the
bones of the skull.
What is going on in the body?
The infection begins in the external ear canal. The
bacteria causing the infection often invade through the skin lining
the ear canal and then infect the ear canal itself. Left untreated, it
can spread rapidly into the skull bones and damage them.
A skull bone called the temporal bone, which is most
commonly affected by severe infections, is in contact with several
key structures. These include the nerves that control the face
muscles and the main blood vessels that lead to and from the brain.
Infection of these and other structures can cause permanent damage
or even death.
What are the causes and risks of the infection?
This disease often occurs in people who have problems
with their immune system. This includes people with diabetes,
AIDS, and cancer. People who take medicines to suppress the immune
system also have a higher risk of getting this infection.
The primary risks of this condition are permanent damage to
key structures near the ear, or even death.