Chronic Otitis Media / Cholesteatoma

Cholesteatoma is a common condition that can affect the ear. Although this is a benign condition, the cholesteatoma sac can cause erosion of important structures that pass through the ear such as the facial nerve canal, inner ear, and skull base. Extensive cholesteatomas causing erosion of the facial nerve canal can result in facial paralysis. Facial paralysis in the setting of chronic otitis media or cholesteatoma is considered an emergency and warrants prompt evaluation.

The facial nerve can also be injured during surgical treatment of cholesteatoma during tympano-mastoidectomy or other otologic surgery. Prompt evaluation and treatment as required is critical for the best long term facial nerve outcomes.