Congenital cholesteatoma: Clinical features and surgical outcomes

Yonatan Reuven*, Eyal Raveh, David Ulanovski, Ohad Hilly, Liora Kornreich, Meirav Sokolov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives: A typical presentation of congenital cholesteatoma (CC) is asymmetric conductive hearing loss (CHL). As CHL is usually associated with middle ear effusion, diagnosis of CC is frequently delayed. This study aimed to describe the clinical characteristics, treatment and outcomes of children with CC. Methods: The medical files of children diagnosed with CC at a large tertiary pediatric medical center during 2000–2019 were reviewed. The primary outcome measures were: presenting symptoms, surgical findings, stage of disease, recurrence rate and hearing outcome. Imaging findings and the size of mastoid air cells were assessed in CT scans. Results: Thirty-nine children were diagnosed with CC. The presenting symptom was unilateral CHL in 85%, with an average speech reception threshold of 41.5 ± 13.7 dB in the affected ear. The mean time from first symptoms to diagnosis was 1.3 years. The surgical approach was exploratory tympanotomy in 25% and canal wall up mastoidectomy in 69%. Seventy percent of the children presented with Potsic stage III-IV. The mean postoperative speech reception threshold was 26.4 ± 12.2 dB (P = 0.002). Recurrence of cholesteatoma occurred in 38% of the patients, mostly in stage III-IV. Mastoid air cell size was significantly smaller on the affected than the unaffected side. Conclusions: In children with persistent unilateral or asymmetric conductive hearing loss, CC should be suspected. Late diagnosis of CC is associated with a high recurrence rate. This highlights the need to promote awareness to the disease among primary physicians in the community health care system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111098
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Cholesteatoma recurrence
  • Congenital cholesteatoma
  • Hearingresult
  • Mastoid pneumatization
  • Pediatrics


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