Necrotizing otitis externa: A new trend? Report of 6 atypical cases | Ear, Nose & Throat Journal Skip to content Skip to navigation

Necrotizing otitis externa: A new trend? Report of 6 atypical cases

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December 1, 2009
by Fergal Glynn, MRCSI and Rory McConn Walsh, MD, FRCS (ORL-HNS)


Necrotizing otitis externa (OE) is traditionally seen in elderly diabetics and immunocompromised patients. During a 7-year period at our institution, we treated 6 patients with necrotizing OE who were not diabetic, who were not immunocompromised, and who were relatively young (age range: 27 to 65 yr; mean: 42.8). The necrotizing OE in these patients was less aggressive but just as severe as its usual presentation in older diabetic or immunocompromised patients. All 6 patients had evidence of bony erosion on computed tomography of the temporal bones, although 4 had negative findings on technetium-99m scintigraphy. Four of the 6 patients required mastoid exploration and fascia lata grafting, and the other 2 chose to undergo extensive daily microdebridements and intravenous antibiotics followed by 6 weeks of oral antibiotics. We recommend that a diagnosis of necrotizing OE be kept in mind when evaluating any patient who presents with severe otalgia, particularly in the presence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection of the external auditory canal, edema, granulation tissue, and bony erosion.

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