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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 repeated ear infections. Once the growth starts, ear infections make it grow larger. 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 infection are gone.
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 call line 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 call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: December 2, 2020
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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