Acute coalescent mastoiditis is an uncommon sequela of acute otitis media. It occurs principally in the well-pneumatized temporal bone. The findings of fever, pain, postauricular swelling, and otorrhea are classic. Cholesteatoma, on the other hand, being associated with chronic infection, usually occurs in the sclerotic temporal bone. The signs and symptoms are isidious in nature and consist of chronic discharge and hearing loss which result from its mass, bone erosion, and secondary infection. Of 17 consecutive cases of acute mastoiditis over a six-year period, four were atypical because they were complications of chronic otitis media and cholesteatoma, yet they had the physical findings of acute mastoiditis-subperiosteal abscess and purulent otorrhea, plus radiographic evidence of mastoid coalescence.
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