Cholesteatomas And Other Tumors Of The Ear
A cholesteatoma is a cyst that either is present at birth (congenital) or forms as a result of poor eustachian tube function (acquired). Cholesteatomas are diagnosed in children and adults. When the pressure in the middle ear is constantly negative due to blockage of the eustachian tube, the weakest part of the eardrum is pulled inward, eventually creating a skin-lined cyst that fills with exfoliated skin and other waste material. Benign tumors, originating from nerves and blood vessels in the middle ear or caused by excess bone growth or chronic inflammation, can also occur in the ear canal and middle ear.
If you experience pain, dizziness, drainage from the ear, and/or hearing loss, it’s important to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist. A physical exam is necessary to determine whether a cyst is the cause and if the eardrum has been damaged. Often a CT scan is needed to assist with diagnosis if a cholesteatoma or other type of growth is suspected. Although benign tumors may disappear on their own on rare occasions, or just stop growing and therefore cause no problems, cholesteatomas will often continue to grow relentlessly unless surgery is performed, and they can eventually lead to permanent hearing loss, permanent balance problems, and even death.