Cholesteatoma is a type of skin cyst located in the middle ear.
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Cholesteatoma can be a birth defect (congenital), but it more commonly occurs as a complication of chronic ear infection.
Poor function in the eustachian tube leads to negative pressure in the middle ear. This pulls a part of the eardrum (tympanic membrane) the wrong way, creating a sac or cyst that fills with old skin cells and other waste material. The cyst becomes infected. The cyst may get bigger and break down some of the middle ear bones, affecting hearing.
Pictures & Images
The tympanic membrane is also called the eardrum. It separates the outer ear from the middle ear. When soundwaves reach the tympanic membrane they cause it to vibrate. The vibrations are then transferred to the tiny bones in the middle ear. The middle ear bones then transfer the vibrating signals to the inner ear. The tympanic membrane is made up of a thin connective tissue membrane covered by skin on the outside and mucosa on the internal surface.
Review Date : 7/15/2008
Reviewed By : Alan Lipkin, MD, Otolargyngologist, private practice, Denver, CO. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.