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What Treatment an Cholesteatoma Ear?


The middle ear and mastoid bone in the skull are both affected by the relatively uncommon but potentially dangerous disorder known as cholesteatoma. It involves the abnormal growth of skin tissue in the ear, which can lead to various symptoms and complications if left untreated. 

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Understanding Cholesteatoma:

A cholesteatoma is an abnormal growth of skin tissue that occurs in the middle ear or the space behind the eardrum, known as the mastoid. This growth can lead to the formation of a cyst or pocket that gradually increases in size. Cholesteatomas are typically non-cancerous but can cause damage to the surrounding structures in the ear if they continue to grow.

Types of Cholesteatoma:

There are two primary types of cholesteatoma:

  1. Congenital Cholesteatoma: This type of cholesteatoma is present at birth and may be caused by remnants of skin tissue that get trapped during fetal development.
  2. Acquired Cholesteatoma: Acquired cholesteatomas develop later in life and are often associated with chronic ear infections or repeated episodes of ear inflammation.

Causes of Cholesteatoma:

The exact cause of cholesteatoma formation is not always clear. However, it is commonly associated with:

  • Repeated Ear Infections: Chronic or recurrent ear infections can cause damage to the eardrum and create conditions for cholesteatoma growth.
  • Eustachian Tube Dysfunction: A malfunctioning Eustachian tube, which is responsible for equalizing pressure in the middle ear, can contribute to the development of cholesteatoma.
  • History of Ear Surgery or Trauma: Previous ear surgeries or injuries to the ear can increase the risk of cholesteatoma formation.

Symptoms of Cholesteatoma:

The symptoms of cholesteatoma may vary depending on the size and location of the growth. In the early stages, individuals may experience:

  • Persistent Earache: Discomfort or pain in the affected ear.
  • Hearing Loss: Gradual or sudden hearing loss, often more pronounced in one ear.
  • Drainage from the Ear: Foul-smelling discharge from the ear, which may contain pus or blood.

As the cholesteatoma grows and progresses, additional symptoms may include:

  • Vertigo: A sensation of unsteadiness or vertigo.
  • Facial Muscle Weakness: Due to nerve compression or damage.
  • Tinnitus: A buzzing or ringing sensation in the ear.
  • Ear Fullness: Feeling of pressure or fullness in the ear.

Diagnosing Cholesteatoma:

Diagnosing cholesteatoma involves a comprehensive examination of the ear and hearing tests. Common diagnostic procedures include:

  • Otoscopy: employing an otoscope, a lit device, to visually inspect the ear canal and eardrum.
  • Audiometry: Hearing tests to evaluate the extent of hearing loss and its impact on the individual.
  • Imaging Tests: CT scans or MRI scans may be performed to provide detailed images of the ear structures and determine the size and location of the cholesteatoma.

Treatment for Cholesteatoma:

The primary treatment for cholesteatoma is surgical removal. Depending on the size and extent of the cholesteatoma, various surgical approaches may be employed, including:

  • Mastoidectomy: Removal of the cholesteatoma and infected mastoid bone.
  • Tympanoplasty: Repairing the perforated eardrum.
  • Ossiculoplasty: Repairing or reconstructing the bones in the middle ear.

In some cases, non-surgical management, such as regular ear cleaning and antibiotic ear drops, may be used to manage small, asymptomatic cholesteatomas.

Complications and Risks:

Untreated or inadequately managed cholesteatomas can lead to severe complications, including:

  • Hearing Loss: Damage to the middle ear structures can result in permanent hearing impairment.
  • Facial Nerve Paralysis: In rare cases, the facial nerve can be affected, leading to facial muscle weakness or paralysis.
  • Meningitis: The membranes encircling the brain and spinal cord may become inflamed if the infection spreads to the brain.


While cholesteatoma cannot always be prevented, individuals can reduce their risk by:

  • Seeking prompt treatment for ear infections and ear-related symptoms.
  • Avoiding inserting objects into the ear canal, which can cause injury and infection.
  • Maintaining good ear hygiene and avoiding excessive moisture in the ear.

Living with Cholesteatoma:

When we suffering from cholesteatoma then we require regular follow-up visits with an ear specialist to monitor the condition and address any potential complications. Persons also seek support from hearing specialists or support groups to cope with the challenges associated with hearing loss and ear-related issues.


A cholesteatoma is an abnormal growth of skin tissue in the middle ear or mastoid, which can lead to various symptoms and complications if left untreated. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, often through surgical removal, are essential in managing cholesteatoma effectively. Individuals should be aware of the symptoms and risk factors associated with cholesteatoma and seek timely medical attention for ear-related concerns to ensure optimal ear health and overall well-being.


Q1: Is cholesteatoma ear a common condition?

Cholesteatoma ear is relatively rare, but it can occur in individuals of all ages.

Q2: Can cholesteatoma ear be treated with medication alone?

No, cholesteatoma ear typically requires surgical removal for effective treatment.

Q3: Are there any long-term complications of cholesteatoma ear?

If left untreated, cholesteatoma ear can lead to hearing loss and severe ear infections.

Q4: What is the recovery time after cholesteatoma ear surgery?

Recovery time varies depending on the surgical procedure and individual factors, but it may take several weeks to months.

Q5: Are there any alternative treatments for cholesteatoma ear?

Surgery is the primary treatment, but your ear specialist will discuss your options based on your specific case.

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