Three cases of otitis media caused by Mycobacterium abscessus subsp. abscessus: Importance of medical treatment and efficacy of surgery

Yuri Nishiyama, Takanori Nishiyama, Sho Kanzaki, Naoki Oishi, Masato Fujioka, Hiroyuki Yamada, Chihiro Ebisuno, Mayumi Kaiho, Yoshifumi Uwamino, Hanako Fukano, Yoshihiko Hoshino, Naoki Hasegawa, Kaoru Ogawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to assess the clinical presentation, antibiotic therapy, surgery, and outcomes in patients with otitis media caused by Mycobacterium abscessus subsp. abscessus and discuss the efficacy of surgery. This is a retrospective case review of three patients diagnosed with otomastoiditis caused by M. abscessus subsp. abscessus. All patients had refractory otorrhea. One patient had granulation tissue in the tympanic membrane. They received medical treatment and underwent surgery. Otorrhea was resolved several months after the initiation of long-term multiantibiotic therapy in all cases. The timing of surgery varied among patients. Before initiating antibiotic therapy, mastoidectomy was performed to achieve definitive diagnosis in two patients, and wound dehiscence developed in these patients. Two patients underwent debridement after the initiation of multiantibiotic therapy. After antibiotic administration, tympanoplasty was performed to improve hearing in one patient. All patients achieved culture negativity after treatment, and no recurrences have been noted. From three cases, it is suggested that the mainstay of treatment for M. abscessus subsp. abscessus is long-term multiantibiotic therapy, and surgery itself may have little effect on achieving ear dryness. Thus, in most patients, drug therapy should be prioritized. Considering postoperative complications, surgery before achieving ear dryness should be avoided, except in emergency cases. In addition, if the diagnosis is not confirmed by repeated bacteriological tests, mastoidectomy should be performed to collect specimens. Tympanoplasty for hearing loss or eardrum perforation is recommended after discontinuation of medications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1251-1257
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Infection and Chemotherapy
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Aug


  • Mycobacterium abscessus complex
  • Mycobacterium abscessus subsp. abscessus
  • Nontuberculous mycobacteria
  • Otitis media
  • Otomastoiditis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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