Middle ear effusion

Last revised by Dr Bahman Rasuli on 05 Apr 2021

Middle ear effusions are frequent in children due to prominent adenoids and horizontal Eustachian tubes. These do not require imaging and can be treated expectantly / medically / surgically with tympanostomy tubes. Eustachian tube dysfunction is the accepted etiology, with resorption of air and extravasation of serous fluid into the middle ear cavity and mastoid sinus

In adults, a middle ear effusion should be treated more circumspectly, as it is the classic presentation of a nasopharyngeal carcinoma near the fossa of Rosenmuller and thus obstructing the Eustachian tube.

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