What is necrotizing (malignant) otitis externa (OE) and what is the associated morality rate?

Updated: Mar 09, 2020
  • Author: Ariel A Waitzman, MD, FRCSC; Chief Editor: Ravindhra G Elluru, MD, PhD  more...
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Necrotizing (malignant) OE is a rare complication that occurs in patients who are immunocompromised or in those who have received radiotherapy to the skull base. In this condition, bacteria invade the deeper underlying structures of the soft tissues and cause osteomyelitis of the temporal bone. This is a life-threatening disorder with an overall mortality that historically has approached 50%.

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