The Infratemporal Fossa Sign: Pilot Study of a Potential Clue to Eustachian Salpingitis Article

Full Text via DOI: 10.1177/0194599820940219 PMID: 32660342 Web of Science: 000549943400001

Cited authors

  • McCoul, Edward D.


  • Aural discomfort may be the result of obstructive eustachian tube (ET) dysfunction, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or other causes. The infratemporal fossa (ITF) sign, in which a patient points to a characteristic location below the auricle, is proposed as an indicator of nonobstructive eustachian salpingitis. A preliminary study included patients with a complaint of aural discomfort who were prompted to localize symptoms using a single finger. Group 1 localized by using the ITF sign; group 2 localized deep within the external ear canal (suggesting ET dysfunction); and group 3 localized to the preauricular region (suggesting temporomandibular joint dysfunction). Findings of ET inflammation recorded during nasal endoscopy were greater in groups 1 and 2. Tympanometry and otoscopy were uniformly abnormal for group 2 and uniformly normal for groups 1 and 3. The ITF sign may help to identify eustachian salpingitis as a phenotype of ET disease characterized by symptomatic inflammation without abnormal middle ear pressure.

Publication date

  • 2020

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0194-5998