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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Necrotizing External Otitis

Necrotizing External Otitis

Alternate Names : Malignant Otitis Externa, Necrotizing External Otitis

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

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.


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Necrotizing External Otitis: Symptoms & Signs

Author: Mark Loury, MD
Reviewer: Kathleen A. MacNaughton, RN, BSN
Date Reviewed: 09/27/02

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