What is cholesteatoma?

A cholesteatoma is a chronic ear condition whereby skin cells from the ear drum and ear canal collect to form a sac that expands behind the eardrum into the middle ear. It is occasionally present from birth, but more commonly is caused by middle ear dysfunction which causes the eardrum to be retracted (pulled backwards) into the middle ear.

It causes chronic ear infection with ear discharge, possible damage to the ossicles (bone of hearing) and hearing loss. In severe cases imbalance, severe infection of the mastoid bone and impaired function of the facial nerve (moves the muscles on the side of the face) may occur.


How can it be treated?

Cholesteatoma requires surgical procedure called mastoidectomy (removal of the cholesteatoma and surrounding bone) to prevent progression of the disease. The nature and extent of surgery is detemined the severity of the disease.