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Massachusetts Eye and Ear
/assets/MEE/svg/default.svg Cholesteatoma

Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery

Cholesteatoma

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Cholesteatomas are potentially harmful cysts of skin that occur in the middle ear, which is the space behind the eardrum. These can be difficult to detect as patients often do not have symptoms of chronic ear disease until the cyst has become quite large.

Patient testimonial

“I thought I just had clogged ears. Instead, my ENT said, ‘I have good news and bad news. The good news is, you don’t have a bit of wax in your ear. The bad news is that you’ve got a cholesteatoma.'"

Read Clay Cook's story

6Common Symptoms

  • Hearing loss
  • Ear pressure
  • Pain ear (in or behind ear)
  • Vertigo
  • Drainage of a foul-smelling fluid
  • Facial paralysis

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment of cholesteatoma typically begins with imaging, usually a CT scan, to determine the severity of the cyst. Once a cholesteatoma has formed, surgery is necessary for removal. The goals of cholesteatoma surgery are to create a safe, dry ear free from cholesteatoma and to restore or preserve hearing.

Related treatments:

  • Cholesteatoma surgery
  • Mastoidectomy

Meet Our Team

Our Hearing and Balanceteam is comprised of some of the world’s finest ear surgeons, skull base surgeons, balance disorder specialists and audiologists.


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