HomePhilippine Journal of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgeryvol. 27 no. 2 (2012)

Surgical Management of Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media with Intracranial Complications

Gerardo Aniano C. Dimaguila, Md, Mph | Nixon S. See | Francisco A. Victoria



Intracranial abscess is a serious, life-threatening condition with a dire prognosis. Although the advent of the antibiotic era has drastically reduced the incidence of the disease, predisposing factors such as untreated ear infections, poor personal hygiene, significant trauma with violation of the sterile cranial environment as well as existing co-morbidities such as an immunocompromised state make intracranial abscess a horrifying reality. Ear infections, in particular, are notorious for being the origin of roughly 50% of cerebellar abscesses.1

Chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM) is one of the leading causes of brain abscess. Shaw and Russell2 reviewed 47 cases of cerebellar abscess and showed that 93% were caused by CSOM; the most common mechanism of entry into the brain parenchyma being direct extension. Chronic infection in the middle ear space could erode through the tegmen tympani and into the temporal lobe or through the tegmen mastoidei into the cerebellum. Neurological symptoms may be delayed as the abscess ‘grows’ in areas around the cerebellum that are regarded as ‘silent’, until vital areas such as those responsible for coordination and balance are violated. We describe a case of cerebellar abscess secondary to CSOM and discuss the possibility of performing ear surgery with simultaneous drainage of a contiguous abscess through a transmastoid approach in cases of chronic suppurative otitis media with intracranial