Middle ear effusion

Last revised by Bahman Rasuli on 5 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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