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Cholesteatoma is a benign growth of skin in the middle ear and/or mastoid that can lead to infection and more serious problems involving the brain and facial nerve.

Overview of Cholesteatoma

Here, you can see a cross-section of a cholesteatoma.

A cholesteatoma is a benign growth of skin in an abnormal location. It can occur in the middle ear or petrous apex. The petrous apex is an area of pyramidal- shaped-bone located deep to the inner ear. Normally, squamous epithelium or skin lines the ear canal and the outer surface of the eardrum. The outermost layer of skin is actually composed of dead cells, which are constantly being sloughed off and expelled with earwax. A major component of these dead cells is a protein called keratin.

The initial signs of a cholesteatoma are painless drainage from the ear canal and hearing loss.