Soft-tissue abnormalities of the external auditory canal: subject review of CT findings

Radiology. 1985 Jul;156(1):105-9. doi: 10.1148/radiology.156.1.4001395.


We review the normal anatomy and discuss characteristic findings of soft-tissue abnormalities of the external auditory canal (EAC). The indications for computed tomography (CT) of the temporal bone have been significantly expanded with the inclusion of soft-tissue abnormalities of the external ear and the auditory canal. Soft-tissue abnormalities of the EAC that can be evaluated with CT include atresia, edema, hemorrhage, fracture, posttraumatic or infection-caused keloid, malignant external otitis, hemangioma, lymphangioma, papilloma, keratosis obturans, acquired cholesteatoma, adenoma, ceruminoma, fibroma, mixed tumor, sarcoma, and basal cell, squamous cell, or adenocystic carcinoma. CT scans of 25 patients who had soft-tissue abnormalities of the EAC were reviewed. The clinical data were correlated with the radiographic findings. We conclude that CT is the best overall radiographic modality for evaluating the extent and character of soft-tissue abnormalities of the EAC. Significant clinical information that is helpful in patient management decisions is added by this technique.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerumen
  • Cholesteatoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Ear Canal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ear Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ear Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ear, External / abnormalities
  • Ear, External / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Otitis Externa / diagnostic imaging
  • Skull Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Temporal Bone / injuries
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed