Q. What causes ear infections and inflammation of the outer ear canal?

Answered by
Dr. Ruchi Sharma
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 17, 2023

Hello doctor,

I have been experiencing an ear infection in my left ear for a year. I have had multiple instances of inflammation in my left outer ear canal. I have tried various antibiotics and acetic acid drops, but they have not been effective. I recently had a CT scan of my sinus and temporal bones. I am attaching the results of the scan for you to review. Kindly check if I have a mastoid issue in my left ear and if there are any problems with my sinuses.



Welcome to

I have reviewed your CT (computed tomography scan) reports of temporal bones that you have attached (attachment removed to protect the patient's identity). There is evidence of soft tissue opacification of the left mastoid air cells that is suggestive of left-sided mastoiditis (inflammation of left mastoid air cells). However, no erosion of adjacent bones, fallopian canal, or ear ossicles is noted (normal finding). In addition, a focal soft tissue is noted in the left external ear that is likely to be wax. The right ear and mastoid air cells appear normal. PNS CT (computerized tomography of the paranasal sinus) reveals evidence of mild mucosal hypertrophy in bilateral sphenoid sinuses (more on the right side), bilateral posterior ethmoid air cells, left frontal sinus and left mastoid antrum (this hypertrophy is seen close to the meatus of left mastoid sinus that is causing obliteration of the left osteomeatal complex). All these findings are suggestive of sinusitis. There is evidence of prominent agger nasi cells bilaterally causing narrowing of the frontoethmoidal recesses. Also, Hellar cells are noted. Agger nasi cells and Hellar cells are incidental findings on most CT scans. Both are extensions of the pneumatization of ethmoid air cells. The prominence of these cells can cause sinusitis. There is no evidence of obliteration of fronto ethmoidal or sphenoethmoidal recesses (normal finding). In addition, the note is made of DNS (deviated nasal septum) to the right side with hypertrophy of the left middle and inferior turbinate. I hope this helps you.

Thank you.

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