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What is Cholesteatoma?

Cholesteatomas are abnormal ear growths caused by infections or lacerations that occur in the middle ear behind the eardrum. Cholesteatomas, often beginning as cysts, can cause hearing loss due to growth that damages the bones of the middle ear. When the bones of the middle ear are damaged or destroyed, the infection can spread to the inner ear and brain, creating the potential for permanent hearing loss, meningitis, brain abscess, and, in rare instances, death.

The symptoms of cholesteatoma

Luckily, cholesteatomas and the hearing loss they cause are largely treatable through surgery. The only way to be certain about whether or not you or a loved one has a cholesteatoma is to have a medical examination.

  • Fluid draining from the ear (coupled with a strong odor)
  • Ear pressure
  • Earaches in or behind the ear
  • Dizziness, and sometimes even
  • Muscle weakness (on the infected side of the face)


Treatment of cholesteatoma

First, your otolaryngologist must conduct an examination to confirm your cholesteatoma. Ear cleaning, eardrops, and antibiotics, and using therapy to stop drainage and fight the infection are initial steps taken before surgery is deemed necessary.

If a cholesteatoma is deemed too large or too complicated to be treated with the above techniques, surgical treatment is often advised to keep you or your loved one safe from more serious complications.

Additional hearing tests, CT scans, and balance tests are conducted so that you and your ear doctor fully understand the extent of your ear growth and the damage it has caused before recommending surgery.

Surgery for Cholesteatoma

Surgery for cholesteatomas are usually conducted for three important reasons:

  • Remove the ear growth
  • Eliminate infection
  • Create a dry ear

If you suspect that you or a loved one is experiencing complications from an ear growth, contact our practice today for a cholesteatoma examination.

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