What is Cholesteatoma?

Cholesteatoma is a serious but treatable ear condition which can be diagnosed only by medical examination by a licensed otolaryngologist. A cholesteatoma usually occurs because of poor function of the Eustachian tube – the tube that conveys air from the back of the nose into the middle ear to equalize ear pressure.

When the Eustachian tube works poorly, the air in the middle ear is absorbed by the body, which creates a partial vacuum in the ear that sucks in a pouch or sac by stretching the eardrum. This is especially common in areas that are weakened by previous infections.

Cholesteatoma is easily treated – surgery is often performed under general anesthesia. The primary purpose of the surgery is to remove the cholesteatoma so that the ear will properly dry, thus eliminating the infection. In some severe cases, reconstruction may not be possible, but that has to be determined once the surgery has begun.

Symptoms of cholesteatoma include draining of foul smelling fluid from the ear; a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear; an ache behind or in the ear; and hearing loss.

Should you experience any of these symptoms, please contact Alexandria Otolaryngology Associates to schedule a consultation.

To find out more about cholesteatoma, please visit our online library by clicking here.