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Cholesteatoma: An Overview
Cholesteatoma: An Overview

Cholesteatoma is a condition that can affect the ear. A build-up of skin cells causes this condition to develop in the ear. This can cause problems with hearing and can also lead to infection. 

Read on to understand this deliberating condition, its causes and symptoms, and available treatment options.

What is a cholesteatoma?
What is a cholesteatoma?

cholesteatoma is a build-up of skin cells in the middle ear. Over time, the cholesteatoma can grow and destroy the middle ear bones. This can lead to hearing loss and other problems.

Cholesteatomas often develop after repeated ear infections. The build-up of skin cells forms a sac that can rupture the eardrum. The sac can then grow and damage the middle ear bones.

Cholesteatoma is usually benign (not cancerous). However, it can cause serious problems if left untreated. Treatment typically involves surgery to remove the cholesteatoma. Early diagnosis and treatment are important in order to prevent serious complications.

What are the causes of cholesteatoma?
What are the causes of cholesteatoma?

While different factors can contribute to the development of this condition, there are four main cholesteatoma causes:

Repeated ear infections

One of the most common causes of cholesteatoma is infection. It can happen when there is a break in the skin that allows bacteria to enter the ear.

The infection can occur from a swimmer’s ear or scratched skin around the ear.

Fluid in the middle ear

Another common cholesteatoma cause is fluid in the middle ear. This can happen from allergies, colds, or other conditions that cause congestion.

This fluid can create a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to cholesteatoma.

Trauma to the ear

Another possible cause of cholesteatoma is trauma to the ear. This can happen from things like piercing the ear or getting a foreign object stuck in the ear.

Congenital disabilities

The fourth cause of cholesteatoma is congenital disabilities. Here, the person is born with abnormalities in the structure of the ear that can predispose them to develop a cholesteatoma.

What are the symptoms of cholesteatoma?
What are the symptoms of cholesteatoma?

Cholesteatomas usually occur in children and young adults. The most common cholesteatoma symptom is persistent, foul-smelling drainage from the ear. The drainage is often dark-coloured and has pus-like consistency. 

Other cholesteatoma symptoms may include:

If you think that you or your child has a cholesteatoma, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. The treatment plan usually involves surgery to remove the growth. In some cases, additional surgery may be needed to repair the bones of the middle ear.

How is a cholesteatoma diagnosed?
How is a cholesteatoma diagnosed?

A cholesteatoma is a growth of abnormal tissue in the middle ear that can destroy the bones of the middle ear. Cholesteatoma diagnosis is usually given by an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist.

The doctor will likely ask you about your medical history and perform a physical exam. They may also use a scope to look inside your ear.

If your doctor suspects you have a cyst in your ear, they may recommend a CT scan or MRI to confirm the cholesteatoma diagnosis. These scans will give the doctor a better view of your skull and ear and better understand the cyst’s severity.

What are the treatment options available for cholesteatoma?

What are the treatment options available for cholesteatoma?

Cholesteatoma is a debilitating condition that can cause severe pain and suffering for those affected.

Surgery is the main cholesteatoma treatment option. Surgery is done to remove the cholesteatoma ear mass and to repair any damage to the ear that has been caused by the condition.

In some cases, a second surgery may be needed to ensure that all of the cholesteatoma tissue has been removed.

The surgery for Cholesteatoma ear is generally an outpatient procedure, meaning a hospital stay is mostly unnecessary. The doctors may also prescribe antibiotics, steroids, ear drops, and painkillers to fight the infection and reduce pain and inflammation.

What are the complications involving cholesteatoma?
What are the complications involving cholesteatoma?

A cholesteatoma is a rare, non-cancerous growth in the middle ear. While it is not cancerous, it can still cause serious complications if left untreated. Some of the potential complications of a cholesteatoma include:

If you think you may be experiencing cholesteatoma symptoms, it is important to see a doctor immediately. While the growth is not cancerous, it can still cause serious health complications if left untreated.


Cholesteatoma is a condition that affects the ear. It is a growth in the middle ear, behind the eardrum. Cholesteatoma can cause pus-like drainage, pain, and even hearing loss in severe cases.

There are several treatment options for cholesteatoma. Surgery is the most common treatment. This can be done to remove the growth and to repair any damage that has been caused by the cholesteatoma.

Other cholesteatoma treatments include antibiotics, ear drops, and steroids. Consult a doctor about the most ideal treatment option if you or someone you know has cholesteatoma.

The department of ENT at the CK Birla Hospital is well-equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to offer comprehensive treatment for ear, nose, and throat disorders. The department has a team of ENT specialists trained to diagnose, treat and counsel patients with ENT issues.

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