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Posts for tag: Cholesteatoma

By The Allergy ENT Team
October 15, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Cholesteatoma  
CholesteatomaCholesteatoma might sound like a scary illness, and although it is a serious condition, it is treatable by your local ENT. If you’re suffering from reoccurring ear problems, mention Cholesteatoma to your ENT at your next appointment. 

What is Cholesteatoma?

Cholesteatoma occurs when a large collection of skin cells occur deep within the ear. This growth of skin is where cholesteatoma gets its name, toma being the word for swelling or tumor. Fortunately, cholesteatoma presents as a non-cancerous cyst.

Cholesteatoma can be either genetic, known as congenital cholesteatoma, or develop later in life, known as acquired cholesteatoma. Both are caused by keratinizing cells in the temporal bone. Abnormal growths usually present in the middle ear behind the eardrum.

Signs and Symptoms

A cholesteatoma usually only affects one ear.
It can cause symptoms including:
  • Fluid drainage in the ear
  • Foul-smelling drainage
  • Feeling pressure or fullness in the ear
  • Hearing loss
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Pain
  • Numbness or weakness on one side of the face
Risk Factors

Developing congenital cholesteatoma is incredibly rare. However, it is possible to acquire it in adulthood.
Some of the risk factors of developing cholesteatoma include:
  • Re-occurring middle ear infections
  • Poor eustachian tube function
  • Genetics
  • Being of Caucasian descent (incidence is rarest in Indian Asians)
  • Being born with craniofacial syndromes such as cleft lip
How Is It Diagnosed?

A doctor will take a look inside your ear using an otoscope to determine if you have cholesteatoma. They can see the cholesteatoma, which often looks like a cyst made of skin cells or a mass of blood vessels.

If the cholesteatoma is too small to be detected, a CT scan may be ordered.

What are the Treatment Options?

Treatment for cholesteatoma often involves surgery for severe cases. However, if caught early, it can be treated through a round of antibiotics, ear drops, and cleaning your ear carefully.

The goal of the treatment is to reduce the chances of an infection occurring, reduce inflammation, and drain the ear of the cyst.

What If It Goes Untreated?

Surgery is perhaps the best way to treat cholesteatomas that won't go away, which is, unfortunately, quite common. Cholesteatomas tend to grow bigger and can eventually lead to:
  • Destruction of surrounding tissues and bones
  • Permanent facial nerve damage, including numbness
  • Severe infections such as meningitis (although rare)
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Swelling of the inner ear
Because of the severe side effects cholesteatoma might have, it's important for people to get checked out by a doctor should they have any symptoms or risk factors.
By The Allergy ENT Team
May 15, 2020
Category: ENT Health
Tags: Cholesteatoma  
CholesteatomaCholesteatoma is when this excess amount of earwax creates a skin cyst on the eardrum or eardrum retraction pocket.
 
The Causes Behind Cholesteatoma
 
Cholesteatoma develops for a few different reasons. The most common one is bad ventilation in the eustachian tube. This connects the middle ear to your throat, nose, and sinuses. It’s what controls the pressure behind your eardrum. When it fails to work correctly, it doesn’t drain the middle ear, retracting the eardrum and collecting earwax and skin cells. Allergies and colds can heighten your risk of developing cholesteatoma, as these can lead to eustachian tube dysfunction.
 
Symptoms of Cholesteatoma
 
Most of the time, patients don’t realize that what they are experiencing is a cholesteatoma. The condition is not painful unless an infection occurs. Patients should expect cholesteatoma if they experience these symptoms: 
  • Frequent earache
  • Dizziness
  • Recurring ear infections
  • Drainage of foul liquid from the ear, possibly bloody
  • Hearing loss
  • Ear feelings stuffy or full
If any of these sound familiar, let your ENT doctor know right away. 
 
Treating Cholesteatoma
 
The only way to treat cholesteatoma is by removing the cyst from the ear. This is accomplished through surgical intervention. The location of the cholesteatoma determines the type of surgery. The patient undergoes testing before anything is scheduled. An examination of the ear can reveal the cholesteatoma, but not to its full extent. The patient needs a CT scan to provide precise imaging of the ear anatomy. The ENT doctor will also perform an audiogram, known as a hearing test. This indicates how much damage the cholesteatoma has caused. 
 
Before surgery, follow any advice given by the ENT. The patient may receive medications that hinder the drainage, along with antibiotics to treat the infection. The procedure is typically performed in an outpatient facility. The surgery removes the skin and infection, along with reconstructing either the eardrum or hearing bones. 
 
If you think you may be dealing with cholesteatoma, it’s important that you schedule an appointment with your Ears, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor right away.