A retrospective analysis of patients who underwent surgery for chronic otitis media, cholesterol granuloma, and cholesteatoma between 1971 and 1979 was performed. The prevalence of postoperative cholesteatoma was higher than that previously reported in the literature. This emphasizes the need to re-explore patients who have had intact canal wall tympanoplasty with mastoidectomy performed for the removal of cholesteatoma. The elimination of cavity problems and better functional results must be balanced against the need for a second operation when an intact canal wall procedure for cholesteatoma is considered. Cholesteatomas occurring in children appear to be more aggressive than those occurring in adults.