Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

pp 419-424

Cholesteatoma of Childhood

  • C. Y. Joseph ChangAffiliated withTexas Ear Center and Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Texas – Houston Medical School Email author 




Cholesteatoma is defined as the presence of squamous epithelial tissue in the middle ear and/or mastoid associated with chronic inflammation. The most common type of cholesteatoma arises from the tympanic membrane and is called an acquired cholesteatoma. The congenital type is very rare.

The acquired form is classified as follows:
  1. 1.

    Primary acquired – The cholesteatoma results from a retraction of the tympanic membrane.

  2. 2.

    Secondary acquired – The cholesteatoma results from implantation of epithelial tissue into the middle ear or mastoid as a result of surgery or from migration of epithelial tissue from a tympanic membrane perforation.


The congenital type is defined as a middle ear cholesteatoma that occurs in a patient with no previous history of tympanic membrane perforation, ventilation tube placement, or other ear surgeries.


The exact etiology of the primary acquired cholesteatoma is not fully understood, but there are various ...

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