Learn About Cholesteatoma

What is the definition of Cholesteatoma?

Cholesteatoma is a type of skin cyst that is located in the middle ear and mastoid bone in the skull.

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What are the alternative names for Cholesteatoma?

Chronic ear infection - cholesteatoma; Chronic otitis media - cholesteatoma

What are the causes of Cholesteatoma?

Cholesteatoma can be a birth defect (congenital). It more commonly occurs as a result of chronic ear infection.

The eustachian tube helps equalize pressure in the middle ear. When it is not working well, negative pressure can build up and pull part of the eardrum (tympanic membrane) inward. This creates a pocket or cyst that fills with old skin cells and other waste material.

The cyst may become infected or get bigger. This can cause the breakdown of some of the middle ear bones or other structures of the ear. This can affect hearing, balance, and possibly the function of the facial muscles.

What are the symptoms of Cholesteatoma?

Symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drainage from the ear, which can be chronic
  • Hearing loss in one ear
  • Sensation of ear fullness or pressure
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What are the current treatments for Cholesteatoma?

Cholesteatomas very often continue to grow if they are not removed. Surgery is most often successful. However, you may need the ear cleaned by a health care provider from time to time. Another surgery may be needed if the cholesteatoma comes back.

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What are the possible complications of Cholesteatoma?

Complications may include:

  • Brain abscess (rare)
  • Erosion into the facial nerve (causing facial paralysis)
  • Meningitis
  • Spread of the cyst into the brain
  • Hearing loss
When should I contact a medical professional for Cholesteatoma?

Call your provider if ear pain, drainage from the ear, or other symptoms occur or worsen, or if hearing loss occurs.

How do I prevent Cholesteatoma?

Prompt and thorough treatment of chronic ear infection may help prevent cholesteatoma.

Tympanic membrane
What are the latest Cholesteatoma Clinical Trials?
Baha Bone Conduction Implants and Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Summary: Bone conduction implants (BCI) are widely used in cases of conductive/ mixed hearing loss or single side deafness when surgical treatment or air hearing aids are not feasible. There are two types of BCI, abutments (which pass through the skin) and magnets (where a subcutaneous magnet is coupled to an external magnet). Pathologies (such as cholesteatoma) leading to the insertion of this hearing imp...
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Combined Access Closed Tympanomastoidectomy: Microsurgery Allied to Endoscopy
Summary: Chronic otitis media is a prevalent medical condition, leading to important impact in the lives of the individuals with this condition, and a great amount of patients may need surgical intervention. The main objectives of the surgery in these cases are to restore the anatomy of the middle ear, to improve hearing and to remove the infection to avoid further complications. Still, chronic otitis medi...
What are the Latest Advances for Cholesteatoma?
Analysis of clinical features and surgical outcomes of petrous bone cholesteatomas.
Summary: Analysis of clinical features and surgical outcomes of petrous bone cholesteatomas.
Endoscopic Ear Surgery for Congenital Cholesteatoma in Children.
Summary: Endoscopic Ear Surgery for Congenital Cholesteatoma in Children.
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Mastoidobliterációhoz használt csontpor és bioaktív üveggranulátum a cholesteatoma sebészetében.
Summary: Mastoidobliterációhoz használt csontpor és bioaktív üveggranulátum a cholesteatoma sebészetében.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: April 13, 2020
Published By: Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Kerschner JE, Preciado D. Otitis media. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 658.

Thompson LDR. Tumors of the ear. In: Fletcher CDM, ed. Diagnostic Histopathology of Tumors. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 30.