Treating A Cholesteatoma (Ear Skin Cyst)

Blog Synopsis:

  • A cholesteatoma is a skin growth or cyst that develops from repeated infections to the middle ear, or from the tearing of the eardrum.
  • This abnormal skin growth is often the result of dead skin cells and other debris building up in the middle ear cavity.
  • In this blog, the physicians at AOC explain what causes a cholesteatoma and how it’s treated.

A cholesteatoma may sound harmless based on the description, but if it’s left untreated, damage to the inner ear bones can occur, causing complications such as permanent hearing loss, chronic ear pain, vertigo, and in severe cases, meningitis or a brain abscess. Patients should have their ears checked the minute they begin to experience the following symptoms:

  • Pressure within the affected ear
  • Foul-smelling drainage
  • Aching pain within the ear
  • Mild hearing loss

A physician at AOC will examine the inside of your ear with an otoscope to see if there are signs of a growing cyst or large cluster of blood vessels. If there are no visible signs of a cholesteatoma, your AOC physician may order a CT scan to determine a proper diagnosis. Unfortunately, a cholesteatoma will not go away on its own, which means surgery is often necessary to remove the cyst.

Before undergoing surgery, your AOC physician will prescribe antibiotics and provide a cleaning solution, likely in the form of ear drops, to treat the infection and reduce inflammation within the ear. Surgery may be put off so your ENT specialist can examine the growth traits and make a plan for the physical removal of the growth.

Removal of a cholesteatoma typically occurs in an outpatient setting, which means you may return home the same day. If the cyst is particularly large, a second surgery may be performed to remove residual cholesteatoma and to rebuild hearing bones that were damaged from the growth.

Patients will need to schedule the necessary follow-up appointments to prevent the return of a cholesteatoma. If you’re curious about what this surgery entails, or if you’d like to speak to a specialist regarding cholesteatoma-related symptoms you’re experiencing, call AOC today! Swelling, drainage, pain, and other symptoms should not be ignored—schedule an appointment today!

Arizona Otolaryngology Consultants (AOC) is a comprehensive ENT clinic that provides care for all diseases of the ears, nose, throat, and sinuses. The physicians at AOC have the highest level of training and expertise in ENT care and ENT subspecialty care, which includes the management of pediatric airway, cancer, skull base surgery, advanced head and neck surgical and reconstructive procedures, craniofacial surgery and more. Call 602-264-4834 to request an appointment today!

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.



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