Acute mastoiditis--the role of radiology.

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Acute mastoiditis is a commonly occurring condition in children and adults, and one that most radiologists will come across at some point during their on-call duties. Acute mastoiditis is usually clinically apparent. However, the complications, especially the intracranial ones, can be more insidious and may have fatal consequences. Therefore, it is imperative that the radiologist is well versed in identifying these. Local spread of infection from the mastoids and middle ear cleft may occur via four routes: bone erosion, thrombophlebitis, periphlebitis, and via the anatomical pathways. The role of radiology is largely to demonstrate the complications of mastoiditis, which can be clinically occult and are often serious; this article will highlight these complications.

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