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DefinitionA type of cyst located in the middle ear.
Causes, incidence, and risk factorsCholesteatoma can be a congenital defect, but it more commonly occurs as a complication of chronic ear infection . Long-term inflammation and malfunction of the eustachian tube leads to chronic negative pressure in the middle ear. This pulls a portion of the eardrum (tympanic membrane) inward, creating a sac or cyst that fills with old skin cells and other debris. The cyst becomes chronically infected. The cyst typically continues to fill with debris over time and may erode the mastoid bone and the bones of the middle ear.
Signs and testsInspection of the ear may show a pocket or perforation (opening) in the eardrum, often with drainage. The deposit of old skin cells may be visible with an otoscope.
The following tests may be performed to rule out other causes of dizziness :
Your doctor may order a CT Scan to further evaluate the problem.
TreatmentThe only known treatment is surgical removal of the cholesteatoma. Surgery may involve the creation of a common area in the middle ear and mastoid bone that may need to be periodically cleaned by the surgeon.
Expectations (prognosis)Cholesteatomas usually continue to grow if not removed. Surgical treatment is effective, but there may be a need for periodic cleaning or repeat surgery if the cholesteatoma recurs.
Calling your health care providerCall your health care provider if ear pain , drainage from the ear , or other symptoms occur or worsen, or if hearing loss occurs.
PreventionPrompt and complete treatment of chronic ear infection may help to prevent some cases of cholesteatoma.
Update Date: 9/5/2002Jason Newman, M.D., Department of Otolaryngology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, Washington, DC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT