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What is Cholesteatoma?

Cholesteatoma is a type of cyst located in the middle ear.

What Causes Cholesteatoma?

Cholesteatoma usually occurs as a complication of chronic ear infection. Long-term inflammation and malfunction of the eustachian tube (the tube that connects your middle ear to the back of your nose and throat) leads to chronic negative pressure in the middle ear.

Chronic negative pressure in the middle ear causes a portion of the eardrum to pull 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.

Cholesteatoma may also be caused by a congenital defect.

Can Cholesteatoma be Prevented?

Yes. Prompt and complete treatment of chronic ear infection may help to prevent some cases of cholesteatoma.

Symptoms of Cholesteatoma

The most common symptoms of cholesteatoma are:

  • drainage from the ear
  • pressure in the ear
  • hearing loss in one ear
  • pain or numbness in the ear or around the ear
  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness on one side of the face

Complications of Cholesteatoma

If cholesteatoma is not treated properly, complications may occur. Common complications are:

  • hearing loss
  • dizziness
  • facial muscle paralysis
  • erosion of the inner ear bones
  • brain abscess
  • meningitis

Yes. Treatment options include careful cleaning of the ear, antibiotics, ear drops, and in severe cases, surgery.

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