What is cholesteatoma?
Cholesteatoma is a chronic, purulent inflammation of the middle ear caused by a proliferation of squamous epithelium from the outer auditory canal into the middle ear. As a rule, the eardrum separates the middle ear from the outer auditory canal. In healthy people, the middle ear is lined with mucosal epithelium, and the outer auditory canal is lined with squamous epithelium.
If, for various reasons (e.g., a perforation or rupture of the eardrum), the squamous epithelium gets into the middle ear, it can cause a constant inflammation. This, in turn, can induce long-term bone destruction in the region of the tympanic cavity (middle ear) and the petrous bone. This is also called “chronic suppurative osteitis (otitis media cholesteatomatosa).
Put simply, cholesteatoma is the name given to the abnormal skin growth in the middle ear. This can cause infections in the area. The continuous growth of the cholesteatoma can result in the bones in the middle ear being destroyed leading to hearing loss, dizziness and in rare cases facial muscle paralysis.
The following contains important information about cholesteatoma, its forms, and its associated symptoms. We have also provided an overview of possible treatments for cholesteatoma.
3 types of Cholesteatoma:
1. Congenital cholesteatoma: Primary acquired cholesteatoma or retraction cholesteatoma
This type of cholesteatoma is very rare, and occurs when squamous epithelium residue remains in the middle ear during development of the embryo. The tympanic membrane is intact. This type of cholesteatoma is very rare, and occurs when squamous epithelium residue remains in the middle ear during development of the embryo. The tympanic membrane is intact.
2. Primary acquired cholesteatoma or retraction cholesteatoma
This form of cholesteatoma is due to a ventilation malfunction in the middle ear, often caused by insufficient tube permeability. The tube is a conduit between the middle ear and the nasopharyngeal space. This malfunction leads to low pressure in the middle ear cells, and consequently the tympanic membrane creates a so-called retraction pocket (retraction of the tympanic membrane). This happens mostly in the pars flaccida region of the tympanic membrane, also called Shrapnell’s membrane. The reason for this is that the pars flaccida, unlike the other areas of the tympanic membrane, is very limp. Squamous epithelium accumulates in this retraction pocket, and a cholesteatoma results from it after a few years.
Cholesteatoma and hearing aids
Surgery is the only option to treat the infections and the overall health issues related to Cholesteatoma. However, as mentioned above one of the post-surgery consequence is; mild to moderate hearing loss. This can be dealt with easily by investing in hearing aids. After the surgery you could consult your audiologist or medical specialist and they will be able to advise you on which hearing aids to choose or alternatives.
If you have any other questions, then you can contact our specialist consultants who can provide you some answers.