The first operation on an infected mastoid process was performed by Petit1 in the early part of the eighteenth century. The operation was so incomplete (merely a drill hole through the cortex) and the results were so unfavorable that it soon fell into ill repute.
Like surgery elsewhere in the body, however, the operation attracted attention to the disease, and although the next step was still in the nature of trephining it did provide freer drainage with the larger opening, and more patients recovered.
Finally, in 1873, Schwartze2 advocated and described a systematic method of removing the mastoid cortex and breaking down the infected cells. This laid the foundation of our present knowledge of mastoid surgery.
Since the development of this successful surgical attack on the infected mastoid, the anxiety aroused by this disease has been entirely out of proportion to the mortality rate. Kerrison3 has stated
DIXON OJ. THE CAUSES OF DEATH IN MASTOIDITIS. JAMA. 1928;91(17):1280-1284. doi:10.1001/jama.1928.02700170044013