When is a consultation with a specialist indicated in the treatment of otitis externa (OE)?

Updated: Mar 09, 2020
  • Author: Ariel A Waitzman, MD, FRCSC; Chief Editor: Ravindhra G Elluru, MD, PhD  more...
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Answer

For simple OE, consultation with an otorhinolaryngologist generally is not necessary. However, such consultation is appropriate if the patient has severe OE, is not responding to treatment as expected, has a suppurative complication or a perforated tympanic membrane, or is suspected of having necrotizing (malignant) OE. Debridement of the ear canal is often necessary for resolution of the infection.

Necrotizing OE necessitates consultation with an otorhinolaryngologist, an infectious disease specialist, and, in some instances, a neurosurgeon.


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