Malignant Otitis Externa

  • Marlene L. DurandEmail author


Malignant otitis externa (MOE) is a rare, invasive infection of the temporal bone that arises in the external auditory canal. Most cases are due to Pseudomonas and occur in older diabetic patients. Untreated infection can extend to surrounding soft tissues and bones (temporomandibular joint, nasopharynx, petrous apex , skull base). The infection is subacute to chronic in presentation but potentially life-threatening. The correct diagnosis is often missed for weeks to months because the clinician is unfamiliar with the signs and symptoms of MOE. The high mortality rate seen in early series prompted the adjective “malignant,” but recent series have demonstrated that cure is possible in all cases if MOE is diagnosed early and treated appropriately. This chapter reviews the clinical features, diagnostic evaluation, and treatment of MOE.


Malignant otitis externa Invasive otitis externa Necrotizing otitis externa Skull base osteomyelitis Petrous apex osteomyelitis 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of MedicineMassachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Infectious Disease Service, Massachusetts Eye and Ear InfirmaryHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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