Ear & Hearing

About Mastoidectomy

Mastoidectomy is an operation to remove disease from the bone behind the ear when medical management has not been successful. 

Mastoidectomy can also be required to gain access to deeper structures within the temporal bone such as the inner ear, middle ear, facial nerve, or other areas of the skull. There are many variations to this operation but the ultimate aim is to eradicate disease and to achieve a dry, safe ear, while preserving all functions of the ear and facial nerve function.

This surgery is performed under general anaesthesia. An incision will be made behind the ear. The mastoid bone will be removed and smoothened out. If the disease is surrounding the ossicles, these little bones will also have to be removed. All care is taken not to damage the facial nerve, which runs through the ear. This nerve innervates the muscles of the face. 

There are two basic variations of mastoidectomy: canal wall up and canal wall down. The extent of the disease present and exposure required would dictate which type of operation is performed. The recovery for both is similar.

After the disease is removed, a graft will be used to seal up any hole in the eardrum. Antiseptic ribbon will be placed in the ear canal and a head bandage applied.

Indications for mastoidectomy


  • Removal of infection from the middle ear and mastoid not responsive to antibiotics
  • Removal of cholesteatoma from the middle ear and mastoid
  • Access and exposure of the facial nerve for exploration and repair
  • Access and exposure of the endolymphatic sac for Meniere’s disease
  • As part of surgery for removal of  tumour in and around the area