What is a Mastoidectomy?

The mastoid is the bone behind the ear that is made up of hollow air cells with a similar configuration to a honeycomb. This bone is directly connected to the space behind the eardrum. In a “healthy” ear, this area should be aerated (full of air) without any infected tissue or debris present. However, in people with recurring ear infections, this area can become chronically infected or develop a “skin cyst” called a cholesteatoma.

If the mastoid becomes chronically infected, it may be the underlying etiology for recurring ear infections, ear drainage, hearing loss, and/or vertigo.

In these scenarios, a mastoidectomy may be required to clean away this area and stop the symptoms that developed from chronic diseases of this bone. A mastoidectomy is a surgical procedure where a small incision is made behind the ear and the bone is drilled away to clear the “infected air cells” or cholesteatoma.

A mastoidectomy is also the first step for a cochlear implant, as this procedure allows access to the inner ear where the hearing implant needs to be inserted.

Whare the Symptoms of Mastoid Disease?

  • Hearing loss
  • Ear drainage
  • Vertigo
  • Tinnitus
  • Pain behind the ear


At Century ENT, we conduct a comprehensive ear exam using a highly magnified microscope in our office. To confirm the diagnosis and determine the degree of hearing loss, a hearing test is performed. Moreover, you may need to undergo a CT scan of the ear bone, a service that can be conveniently provided within our office premises. A CT scan is essentially an x-ray of the ear bone, aiding in the diagnosis of chronic mastoid issues.


Different degrees and stages of surgery exist, the specifics of which should be discussed with your Century ENT ear surgeon. Generally, there are surgeries where the ear anatomy remains unchanged post-surgery (canal wall-intact mastoidectomy) and surgeries where the disease necessitates a change in anatomy (canal wall-down mastoidectomy). Your Century ENT surgeon determines the most appropriate approach based on the severity of your condition. Both types are performed on an outpatient basis and require a similar duration. Quite often, a mastoidectomy is conducted in combination with a tympanoplasty in an effort to simultaneously rebuild or repair the eardrum.

At Century ENT, surgeries are usually executed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. A small incision is made behind the ear to provide access to the procedure. This incision heals excellently and is unnoticeable from a frontal or side perspective.

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