Tuberculous Otomastoiditis

Microbiol Spectr. 2016 Dec;4(6). doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.TNMI7-0020-2016.


Tuberculous otitis media and mastoiditis, or tuberculous otomastoiditis, is a rare but well-described infectious process occasionally affecting individuals in the United States but more frequently seen in countries where tuberculosis is endemic. Infection may be primary and occur through mucus aspirated through the Eustachian tube. Alternatively, organisms may secondarily infect the nasopharynx when expectorated from the lungs and, less frequently, may be hematogenously spread. Chronic otorrhea and hearing loss are common symptoms, and extensive perforation of the tympanic membranes and facial nerve paralysis are routinely described. Diagnosis is made by direct culture of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, although more recently, molecular techniques have been used. Successful treatment of tuberculous otomastoiditis routinely involves surgical intervention combined with prolonged antituberculosis therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Mastoiditis / diagnosis
  • Mastoiditis / pathology*
  • Mastoiditis / therapy
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / isolation & purification*
  • Otitis Media / complications
  • Otitis Media / diagnosis
  • Otitis Media / pathology*
  • Otitis Media / therapy
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / methods*
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis / pathology*
  • Tuberculosis / therapy


  • Antitubercular Agents