High-Resolution Computed Tomography in Middle Ear Cholesteatoma: How Much Do We Need It?

Medicina (Kaunas). 2023 Sep 25;59(10):1712. doi: 10.3390/medicina59101712.


Background and Objectives: The diagnosis of cholesteatoma is usually clinic, and the only efficient treatment is surgical. High-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) is not considered absolutely necessary for the management of an uncomplicated cholesteatoma, but unsuspected situations from a clinical point of view can be discovered using the scans, warning the surgeon. Our objective is to compare HRCT scan information with intraoperative findings in patients with cholesteatoma and analyze the usefulness of a preoperative HRCT scan from a surgical point of view. Materials and Methods: This is a prospective descriptive study conducted in the Department of Otolaryngology, Victor Babes University of Medicine and Pharmacy Timisoara, Romania, from May 2021 to April 2022. It was carried out on 46 patients with a clinical diagnosis of cholesteatoma who were consequently operated on in our department. All patients received full clinical and audiological examinations. In all cases, an HRCT scan was performed preoperatively as a mandatory investigation. Preoperative HRCT scans were analyzed, and their findings were compared to the intraoperative notes. The two sets of observations were analyzed using standard statistical methods. Results: Extensive cholesteatoma was the most common type of disease, involving 46% of the patients, followed by pars flaccida cholesteatoma (35%) and pars tensa cholesteatoma (19%). Eroded scutum was the most frequent lesion involving 70% of the patients, followed by incus erosion (67%). Comparison of the HRCT and intraoperative findings revealed a very good correlation for tegmen tympani erosion, sigmoid plate erosion, scutum and malleus erosion, and a moderate-to-good correlation for lateral semicircular canal erosion, incus and stapes erosion, and fallopian canal erosion. Conclusions: HRCT is a valuable tool in the preoperative assessment of cholesteatoma, helping in making surgical decisions. It can accurately predict the extent of disease and is helpful for detecting unapparent dangerous situations. However, it is not very accurate in detecting fallopian canal and stapes erosion.

Keywords: cholesteatoma surgery; high-resolution computed tomography; very good correlation.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Cholesteatoma, Middle Ear* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cholesteatoma, Middle Ear* / pathology
  • Cholesteatoma, Middle Ear* / surgery
  • Ear, Middle / pathology
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.