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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Infected jaw bone

10/21/2009

Question:

I had an ear infection about a year ago in my ear canal. When the infection cleared it was discovered that the infection had eaten through the bottom of my ear canal and had attached itself to my jaw bone. I had surgery to have it removed about 6 months ago, and the biopsy result was “Infected bone & tissue” But now I have been back to the ENT consultant, as my ear felt blocked. He has said the canal is open, but now after a 2nd scan I have been told that the bone underneath the canal is now dead or dying and now I need surgery to remove the bone and replace it with a bone from a pig. My ENT consultant has now referred me to a facial surgeon, and has said that this is the only the 2nd case of this type of ear problem that he has heard of.

My question is: Is this condition as rare as he says? and how simple an operation is this?

Answer:

This condition is rare, and it is not a simple operation.  It is most unusual for an outer ear infection to spread as you describe unless you are a poorly controlled diabetic or have some other condition that impairs your immune system, or there is some other process going on besides infection alone.  You may want to consider a second opinion before embarking on further surgery. 

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Response by:

Allen M Seiden, MD Allen M Seiden, MD
Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Division of Rhinology and Sinus Disorders, Director of University Taste and Smell Center, Director of University Sinus and Allergy
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati