What role do imaging studies play in the diagnosis of otitis externa (OE), and which studies are preferred?

Updated: Mar 09, 2020
  • Author: Ariel A Waitzman, MD, FRCSC; Chief Editor: Ravindhra G Elluru, MD, PhD  more...
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Imaging studies are not required for most cases of OE. However, radiologic investigation may be helpful if an invasive infection such as necrotizing (malignant) OE is suspected or if the diagnosis of mastoiditis is being considered.

High-resolution computed tomography (CT) is preferred and better depicts bony erosion. [5] Radionucleotide bone scanning and gallium scanning have been used to make the diagnosis. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), though not used as often, may be considered secondarily or if soft tissue extension is the predominant concern. [6]

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