A mastoidectomy is the surgical removal of infected air cells within the mastoid bone. These air pockets are typically due to mastoiditis, ear infections, or other inflammatory conditions of the middle ear. When the bone becomes infected, it can lead to further complications including facial paralysis.
The mastoid is the bone between the ear and the jaw. Recurrent and untreated ear infections can eventually spread to the bone which causes further discomfort and symptoms including fever and swelling. Mastoiditis is most common in children and can be treated with antibiotics. In rare cases surgery such as a mastoidectomy may be needed to remove infected bone.