Bezold abscess

Last revised by Andrea Molinari on 22 Jan 2023

A Bezold abscess is a complication of acute otomastoiditis where the infection erodes through the cortex medial to the attachment of the sternocleidomastoid muscle, at the attachment site of the posterior belly of the digastric muscle, and extends into the infratemporal fossa. It is impalpable because it is deep to the investing layer of the deep cervical fascia that envelops the sternocleidomastoid muscle and trapezius muscle 1.

As the mastoid air cells pneumatize late in childhood, a Bezold abscess is seen usually in the adult population where the overlying cortex is thinner 1.

Due to the proximity to the internal jugular vein, internal jugular vein thrombosis is a recognized complication 1.

History and etymology

This condition is named after Friedrich Bezold, German otologist (1842-1908) 2.

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