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A cholesteatoma (say "kuh-LESS-tee-uh-TOH-muh") is a growth (cyst) inside your ear. The most common cause is a problem with the eustachian tube. Once the growth starts, it can keep growing and cause ear infections. You may feel pain and pressure in or near your ear. You also may have bad-smelling fluid that drains from your ear. You may lose hearing in that ear. Hearing may come back after the growth is removed.
Your doctor may do tests to find out the size and shape of the growth. Your doctor may clean your ear and prescribe antibiotics if you have an infection. In most cases, people have surgery to remove the growth. After surgery, you will need follow-up care to be sure the growth and infections don't come back.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: March 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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