What You Need To Know About Cholesteatoma


A cholesteatoma is an abnormal condition, in which non-cancerous skin develops behind the eardrum, in the middle section of the ear. Although it is caused by repeated infections, it can also be a birth defect. With the accumulation of dead skin cells, the growth in size can disrupt the middle ear bones.  This may result in some form of hearing loss.

Symptoms Of Cholesteatoma

Symptoms are generally mild in the initial stages, and it tends to become more severe with the increasing size of the cyst. Discomfort is caused by the creation of pressure in the ear, due to the growth of cyst. The child may also feel some sort of aching pain behind the ear. Permanent hearing loss, vertigo and facial muscle paralysis are some common things associated in extreme cases. In such a situation, medical intervention may be required at the earliest.

Potential Complications Of A Cholesteatoma

Cholesteatoma can cause serious complications, if left untreated for a long time. The accumulation of dead skin cells provide an ideal thriving environment for fungus and bacteria. This implies the cyst can be infected, causing continuous ear drainage and inflammation. Further, it can damage the nerves of the face, the bones near the brain, the bones inside the ear and the eardrum. Some of the other potential complications include collection of pus in the brain, or brain abscesses, meningitis, facial muscle paralysis, swelling of inner ear and overall chronic infections.

How Is It Diagnosed?

An otoscope is generally used to examine the inner ear portion. It allows the ENT doctor to see if there is a possibility of further growth in the cyst. They look for a large mass of blood vessel and a visible deposit of skin cells in the ear. In case you are showing certain symptoms like facial muscle weakness or dizziness, a CT scan may be performed to visualize the cyst and rule out any chances of further growth..

How Is It Treated?

Removal of cyst by surgery is the best possible option in this case, and is necessary to avoid any sort of complications that can be potent. This won’t go away naturally and may continue to grow later on. On being diagnosed, the cholesteatoma can be treated with a series of antibiotics, ear cleaning and use of ear drops.

In a majority of cases, you don’t have to stay in the hospital after the surgery. It is only necessary when you have any serious infection. A follow-up surgery is done after the initial surgery, in order to recoup any damage done to the inner ear, and also ensure the cyst has been completely removed. You may need to take regular appointments to make sure it’s not coming back. Post-surgery, it’s normal to taste abnormalities and experience temporary dizziness.

How To Prevent Cholesteatoma

There is no way you can prevent Cholesteatoma from happening, but early detection can go a long way in treating the abnormality. You can avoid complications by stopping the cysts from occurring. Call an ENT doctor straightaway, if your child has a cholesteatoma.