What is the role of surgery in the treatment of malignant otitis externa (MEO)?

Updated: Apr 13, 2020
  • Author: Brian Nussenbaum, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

See the list below:

  • Chandler advocated surgery in his original report when appropriate antimicrobials were not available; he had very poor results, with a 50% mortality rate.

  • Surgical removal of the lesion requires resection of large portions of the temporal bone.

  • Because of the histopathology of malignant external otitis (MEO), removal of contiguous areas of bone may not be sufficient because of the spread of infection through vascular and fascial planes.

  • Surgery is now reserved for local debridement, removal of bony sequestrum, and abscess drainage.

  • Facial nerve decompression is not indicated for patients with facial paralysis.


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