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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 591714, 10 pages
Research Article

Temporal Bone Osteomyelitis: The Relationship with Malignant Otitis Externa, the Diagnostic Dilemma, and Changing Trends

1Department of Otolaryngology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, No. 201, Section 2, Shipai Road, Beitou District, Taipei City 11217, Taiwan
2Department of Otolaryngology, National Yang Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
3Department of Otolaryngology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Su-Ao and Yuan-Shan Branch, Yilan, Taiwan

Received 20 January 2014; Accepted 24 April 2014; Published 18 May 2014

Academic Editor: Afshin Teymoortash

Copyright © 2014 Jia-Cheng Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Fifty-five patients hospitalized for osteomyelitis of the temporal bone between 1990 and 2011 were divided into two study groups: group 1 was patients collected from 1990 to 2001 and group 2 was composed of patients between 2002 and 2011. Clinical diagnostic criteria and epidemiologic data were analyzed to illustrate the altering features of osteomyelitis of the temporal bone. Group 1 patients were characterized by high prevalence of diabetes and more commonly suffered from otalgia, otitis externa and granulation tissue in the external auditory canal and higher positive culture for Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Noticeable changing trends were found between both groups, including declining prevalence of diabetes, fewer patients complaining of pain or presenting with otitis externa, and canal granulation, and increased variety of pathogens in group 2. We should highlight the index of clinical suspicion for osteomyelitis of the temporal bone, even in nondiabetic or immunocompetent patients. Painless otorrhea patients were also at risk of osteomyelitis of the temporal bone, especially patients with previous otologic operation. Increased multiplicity of pathogens amplified the difficulty of diagnosis for osteomyelitis of the temporal bone.