Cholesteatoma at ENTACC
What is a cholesteatoma?
A cholesteatoma is an abnormal growth that develops in the middle ear behind the eardrum. It can affect the mastoid cavity and bone. A cholesteatoma begins as a cyst that grows and causes bone damage and hearing loss.Cholesteatoma causesOur general ENT services include:
A normally functioning eustachian tube equalizes air pressure in the ear. However, allergies and viruses can cause the eustachian tube to perform poorly, leading to a vacuum in the ear.
This partial vacuum can cause pressure to stretch the eardrum, which creates a cyst that can then fill with waste material and dead skin cells. This cyst can become infected and may even be present at birth.
What symptoms should I look for?
The symptoms of a cholesteatoma are similar to other ear conditions, so CT scans and electronystagmography are used to rule out other conditions. Signs to look out for include:
- Ear drainage
- A feeling of fullness in the ear
- Hearing loss
When left untreated, cholesteatomas can get bigger and lead to other symptoms like:
- Facial paralysis
- Brain abscess
The first step in treatment is for your doctor to determine your cholesteatoma’s size and growth rate. After that, the doctor can recommend the treatment that will work best for you. Usually, treatment is started by first controlling the infection with antibiotics or ear drops.
In some cases, an outpatient cholesteatoma surgery is needed to remove and prevent further infection. A second procedure may also be required to reconstruct damage and make sure that the cholesteatoma is gone.