The only way to fully treat a cholesteatoma is through surgical removal. If the cyst is left in the ear, it can lead to risky complications.
Risks of Untreated Cholesteatoma:
- Chronic otitis media (ear infection)
- Inner ear swelling (damages hearing)
- Facial muscle paralysis
- Meningitis (life-threatening brain infection)
- Brain abscesses (collections of pus in the brain)
Once the cholesteatoma is diagnosed, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics, ear drops, and an ear cleaning regimen to treat the infection, reduce inflammation and swelling, and drain the cyst. After this process is complete, you will be able to plan for surgical removal.
This surgery typically consists of a mastoidectomy, to remove the cyst from the mastoid bone, and tympanoplasty to repair the eardrum. In most cases, this is an outpatient procedure that does not require a hospital stay.
However, if the cyst is large enough or spreads the infection, you will have to stay in the hospital for a brief period of observation. Often times, you will need a follow-up surgery to repair or reconstruct any damaged portions of the inner ear.
If the mastoid bone is hard to reach, it may have to be accompanied by a canalplasty. This procedure is done to widen a narrowed external auditory canal to make way for a mastoidectomy and/or tympanoplasty.