Child Wellness Wednesday: Cholesteatoma
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Ear infections in children are not uncommon nor are they dangerous, but left untreated, the side effects can be serious.
Up until the age of 8 or 9, part of the ear called the eustachian tube is not fully developed predisposing kids to ear infections. Some can become chronic, increasing the risk for developing cholesteatoma where skin can grow through the ear drum to the middle ear.
Neurologist Dr. David Foyt said, "That causes a reaction within the middle ear that is kind of like an little aggressive tumor that can hurt the hearing and it can grow into the brain and cause brain infections and grow into the facial nerve that makes the face work and cause facial nerve paralysis."
Symptoms may include dizziness or muscle weakness on one side of the the face. Hearing loss is a risk.
Dr. Foyt said, "Cholesteatoma will most commonly erode the hearing bones and cause a hearing loss that is correctable but it can also grow in inner ear and cause hearing loss more permanent."
Surgeons using lasers can precisely remove the tumor.
Dr. Foyt said, "It is physically removed by an operation called tympanomastoidectomy."
Most of the hearing loss after surgery is expected to be recovered.
Dr. Foyt said, "There is a significant healing loss, but we know it will get better once the bones are reconstructed. We have these fancy titanium implants that can reconstruct these tiny hearing bones."