The Journal of International
Advanced Otology

Is Facial Nerve Decompression Justified in Malignant External Otitis? Literature Review and Own Experience


Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznań, Poland


Institute of Human Genetics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznań, Poland

J Int Adv Otol 2023; 19: 191-198
DOI: 10.5152/iao.2023.22892
Read: 908 Downloads: 363 Published: 01 May 2023

OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to present the indications for facial nerve decompression in malignant external otitis, to analyze the results of such treatment, and to describe own experience in that field.

METHODS: A search in the PubMed and Google Scholar databases for English language articles published between 1968 and May 2022 was performed. We focused on papers describing patients with malignant external otitis and facial nerve palsy treated by decompression. Moreover, retrospective analysis of 24 consecutive patients with malignant external otitis hospitalized in our department in the past 10 years was performed.

RESULTS: In the literature, 48 cases with malignant external otitis and facial nerve paresis treated by decompression were identified. In total, 41 patients recovered (85.42%), 4 died (1 due to exacerbation of the disease, 2 for pneumonia, and 1 for heart failure), and in 3 cases the final outcome was not presented. In most cases (24; 50%), facial nerve function did not improve after decompression, in 8 patients (16.67%) partial recovery was observed, in 11 cases (22.92%) full improvement was observed, and data were not given for 5 patients. In only one case, the spread of infection and deterioration of local and general patient states were noted. In our material, we identified 13 patients with malignant external otitis and facial nerve palsy. Two of them were treated surgically, of which only one had facial nerve decompression. Partial improvement of facial nerve function was observed after 6 months of rehabilitation.

CONCLUSION: The management of malignant external otitis is still difficult and not well defined. Facial nerve decompression seems justified in selected cases of malignant external otitis not responding to conservative treatment.

Cite this article as: Marszał J, Wierzbicka M, Bartochowska A. Is facial nerve decompression justified in malignant external otitis? Literature review and own experience. J Int Adv Otol. 2023;19(3):191-198.

EISSN 2148-3817