Otorrhea (Ear Drainage)
Ear drainage can have many medical causes such as acute/chronic otitis externa, middle ear infection where the eardrum has burst, mastoiditis and spinal fluid leakage due to compromise of the ear/brain separation. The appearance of the ear drainage varies depending on the cause. The drainage can be characterized as thin/clear, mucoid, bloody or purulent (full of pus), and the otorrhea may or may not be foul smelling. Many patients with ear drainage also experience hearing loss, tinnitus (insert link), vertigo or unsteadiness, ear pain (otalgia), feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear or itchiness in the ear canal.
Because there are so many causes for otorrhea, it is critical that a qualified physician perform a thorough microscope examination and cleaning of the ear. A comprehensive hearing test (audiogram) and balance testing using videonystagmography as well as temporal bone imaging (CT or MRI scans) may be required.
A suction device is typically used to clear the drainage in the affected ear so as to establish where the drainage is coming from. If there is an infection, antibiotics (oral or topical eardrops) may be prescribed. Since serious pathologies such as cholesteatoma and encephalocele with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage are potential causes for otorrhea, failure to resolve the drainage after conservative management is an indication for temporal bone imaging and surgical intervention.
Why Choose Us
- Dr. Abraham Jacob, Medical Director for Ear & Hearing (E&H) at the Center for Neurosciences (CNS), is fellowship trained in Otology, Neurotology, and Cranial Base Surgery. He is the first and most experienced Neurotologist in Tucson.
- Dr. Jacob was a founding member of the University of Arizona (UA) Department of Otolaryngology prior to his departure and transition to CNS. At UA, he was Vice Chair of ENT and held the rank of full Professor with Tenure. He has an international reputation as an expert for treating ear diseases.
- Dr. Jacob transitioned his practice to the Center for Neurosciences in early 2017 as he felt that the new environment helped him to optimize delivery of personalized ear and lateral skull base care.
- Dr. Jacob’s offices at E&H are equipped with ceiling-mounted operating microscopes that allow him to perform thorough examinations and cleaning of both ears. A variety of specially prepared topical medications are then applied to the deepest aspects of the ear canals. In the event that conservative management techniques are unsuccessful, every diagnostic imaging test currently available in Tucson can be ordered through the Center for Neurosciences. As surgery may be required to treat serious conditions such as acute otitis media with complications, chronic suppurative otitis media, cholesteatoma and encephaloceles with CSF leakage, rest assured that Dr. Jacob is the most highly trained and clinically experienced ear/temporal bone surgeon in Tucson.