A cholesteatoma is a type of cyst found in the middle ear behind the eardrum. Cholesteatoma is a noncancerous tumor that forms when the skin of a punctured eardrum grows through the hole in the middle ear. If there is an ear infection, the skin will continue to grow into a cholesteatoma.
While the tumors are benign, the growths can cause damage to the ears by destroying bones in the ear and causing hearing problems. The tumors may also cause nerve damage, hearing loss, deafness, dizziness, and balance problems.
Cholesteatoma is a serious medical problem, and early treatment is crucial for the best outcome. Serious complications may occur if the tumor goes untreated, including destruction of both the middle ear structures causing hearing loss, and inner ear structures causing vertigo (feeling of spinning or whirling). Spreading of infection to the brain can lead to meningitis and brain abscess.
Cholesteatoma responds well to treatments. Patients are likely to recover fully without complications if the tumor is caught and treated early.
Regions of the Ear
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