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mastoid process


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A nipple-shaped process on the temporal bone that extends downward and forward behind the ear canal and is the point of attachment of several neck muscles. It contains many air spaces (mastoid cells), which communicate with the cavity of the middle ear via an air-filled channel, the mastoid antrum. This provides a possible route for the spread of infection from the middle ear (see mastoiditis).

Subjects: Medicine and Health.


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