Cholesteatoma: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, & More - Healthroid

Cholesteatoma: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, & More

Mayank Pandey
Written by Mayank Pandey on March 17, 2023

Cholesteatoma is a rare but serious condition that affects the middle ear. This abnormal growth is characterized by skin cells and other debris that accumulate in the ear over time, forming a mass. While it may not initially cause symptoms, cholesteatomas can eventually lead to hearing loss or damage to surrounding bones and tissues.

The primary cause of cholesteatoma is repeated infections or inflammation of the middle ear, although it can also occur due to trauma or birth defects. Treatment for this condition typically involves surgery to remove the growth and prevent further damage to the inner ear. After surgery, patients may require follow-up care from an audiologist or speech-language pathologist to address any residual hearing loss or communication issues.

If left untreated, the cholesteatoma can lead to serious complications such as meningitis, brain abscesses, and facial nerve paralysis. Therefore, early detection and prompt treatment are essential for preserving hearing function and preventing long-term complications associated with this condition.

Skin Cyst

A skin cyst, medically known as an epidermoid cyst, is a non-cancerous lump that develops beneath the skin. It arises when skin cells multiply and grow in a sac-like structure. These cysts are usually firm to the touch, painless, and slow-growing. They can occur anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the face, neck, back, or genitals.

One type of skin cyst called cholesteatoma is characterized by its location within the middle ear or mastoid bone of the skull. Cholesteatomas develop when dead skin cells accumulate and form a mass within these areas. They can cause hearing loss, vertigo, and headaches if left untreated.

Cholesteatomas require medical attention as they can lead to serious complications such as bone erosion and infection. Treatment options include surgery to remove the cyst, antibiotics to treat any existing infections, and hearing aids for those with hearing loss resulting from cholesteatoma growth.


Cholesteatoma is a type of congenital abnormality that occurs in the middle ear. It is characterized by an abnormal growth of skin cells, which leads to the formation of a cyst-like mass. This mass can gradually expand and cause damage to the surrounding tissues, including the bones of the middle ear and even the brain.

The exact causes of cholesteatoma are not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some people may be born with certain structural abnormalities in their ears that make them more susceptible to developing cholesteatoma later in life. Others may develop it as a result of chronic inflammation or repeated infections in the middle ear.

Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) is a condition that affects the middle ear and can lead to various complications, including cholesteatoma. This condition occurs when the Eustachian tubes do not open or close properly, leading to an imbalance of pressure between the middle ear and the atmosphere. As a result, air cannot flow freely into or out of the middle ear, which in turn can cause fluid buildup and other problems.

One of the main causes of ETD is allergies, as they can cause inflammation and swelling in the nasal passages and throat area where the Eustachian tubes are located. Other common causes include upper respiratory infections, sinus infections, changes in altitude or air pressure (such as during air travel), and structural abnormalities that affect how the tubes function.

When left untreated, ETD can lead to serious complications such as cholesteatoma – a type of abnormal skin growth that can damage bones within your ear canal. If you have been experiencing symptoms such as muffled hearing or persistent ear pain for an extended period of time, it is important to seek medical attention immediately to prevent any further complications from developing.


Cholesteatoma is a rare but serious condition that affects the middle ear. Pain is one of the primary symptoms of cholesteatoma. The pain can be constant or intermittent and may range from mild to severe. Patients often describe it as a sharp, stabbing sensation or a dull ache.

Another common symptom associated with cholesteatoma is discharged. This discharge can be thick, foul-smelling, dark, and sometimes bloody. It may also cause hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), dizziness, or vertigo (spinning sensations). If left untreated for too long, cholesteatomas can grow larger and invade nearby structures such as facial nerves or inner ear bones, which could lead to permanent damage.

In conclusion, if you experience any of these symptoms associated with cholesteatoma – pain in your ear(s), discharge from your ear(s), hearing loss/tinnitus/dizziness/vertigo – you should seek medical attention immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent complications that could lead to permanent damage like deafness or facial paralysis.


Imaging tests are essential tools for the diagnosis of cholesteatoma, a non-cancerous but potentially dangerous growth that can develop in the middle ear. Two of the most common imaging techniques used to diagnose this condition are computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). CT scans use X-rays to create detailed images of the bones and soft tissues inside the ear, while MRI uses radio waves and magnets to produce high-resolution pictures of internal structures.

Both CT scans and MRIs can provide valuable information about the size, shape, location, and extent of a cholesteatoma. They can also help doctors determine whether any nearby structures have been affected by the growth or if there is any associated infection or inflammation. In some cases, an audiogram or hearing test may also be performed alongside these imaging tests to assess any hearing loss caused by cholesteatoma.

While both CT scans and MRI are useful diagnostic tools for cholesteatoma, each has its strengths and limitations. Your doctor will determine which test is best suited for your particular situation based on factors such as your symptoms, medical history, age, overall health status, and other individual considerations. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully before undergoing any imaging test to ensure accurate results.



When it comes to treating cholesteatoma, surgery, and antibiotics are the two primary options. Surgery is usually recommended as a first-line treatment for this condition, especially if it has already caused significant damage or hearing loss. The goal of surgery is to remove the cholesteatoma and prevent its recurrence.

In most cases, the surgical procedure involves removing the growth through an incision behind the ear. Depending on the severity of the condition and extent of damage, additional procedures may be required to repair any structural damage or restore hearing. After surgery, patients may need to take antibiotics to prevent infections.

Antibiotics can also be used as a standalone treatment for mild cases or as an adjunct therapy after surgery. Antibiotics help combat bacterial infections that often accompany cholesteatoma, reducing inflammation and promoting healing. While they cannot cure cholesteatoma on their own, they can help control symptoms and prevent complications from arising during recovery. It’s important to follow your doctor’s advice regarding medication use and continue with regular checkups during recovery to ensure optimal outcomes.


Self-treatment of cholesteatoma is not recommended as it can lead to serious complications. Cholesteatomas are abnormal skin growths that develop in the middle ear behind the eardrum. They can result from repeated infections or a hole in the eardrum caused by trauma or previous surgery. If left untreated, cholesteatomas can cause hearing loss, dizziness, facial paralysis, and meningitis.

Attempting to remove a cholesteatoma by oneself using cotton swabs or other objects is dangerous and ineffective. It may push the growth further into sensitive areas of the ear canal, causing more damage or infection. A qualified medical professional should examine any suspected cases of cholesteatoma and determine the best course of treatment.

In conclusion, individuals who suspect they may have a cholesteatoma should avoid self-treatment at all costs. Instead, they should promptly seek medical attention from an otolaryngologist (ear nose throat doctor) for proper diagnosis and treatment. Early detection and intervention are key to preventing serious complications associated with this condition.


Cholesteatoma is a type of skin cyst that is located in the middle ear behind the eardrum. This condition can lead to a variety of complications, including hearing loss, balance problems, and even facial paralysis. As the cholesteatoma grows and becomes more inflamed, it can erode nearby bone structures and damage delicate nerves.

One potential complication of cholesteatoma is chronic ear infections. The growth of the cyst can create an environment that is conducive to bacterial growth, leading to recurrent infections that are difficult to treat with antibiotics alone. In some cases, surgery may be required to remove the cyst and prevent further infection.

Another common complication of cholesteatoma is conductive hearing loss. As the cyst grows larger and begins to affect nearby bones in the middle ear, it can interfere with the sound transmission and reduce overall hearing ability. If left untreated, this condition can progress over time, leading to permanent hearing loss in some cases.


In conclusion, seeking medical attention for cholesteatoma is crucial. This condition is caused by the growth of abnormal skin cells in the middle ear that can lead to severe complications if left untreated. These complications may include hearing loss, dizziness, and even facial paralysis.

If you suspect that you have cholesteatoma or experience any symptoms such as ear pain, discharge from the ears, or a feeling of fullness in the ears, it is important to seek medical help immediately. A doctor will perform a thorough examination to determine whether you have this condition and recommend the best course of treatment.

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the abnormal tissue and prevent further damage to your ear. Remember that early detection and prompt action are key in treating cholesteatoma successfully. Do not delay seeking medical attention if you suspect that you might have this condition.

Published on March 17, 2023 and Last Updated on March 20, 2023 by: Mayank Pandey

Mayank Pandey
Written by Mayank Pandey on March 17, 2023

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