Petrous bone cholesteatoma and facial paralysis

Clin Otolaryngol Allied Sci. 1998 Jun;23(3):253-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2273.1998.00144.x.


This paper describes a series of patients with a petrous temporal bone cholesteatoma paying particular attention to the complications and their management. Sixteen patients who underwent surgery in our department were reviewed. Topographically, the petrous bone cholesteatomas were grouped into five categories according to the classification proposed by Sanna et al. There were five massive labyrinthine; five infralabyrinthine; one apical; four supralabyrinthine; and one infralabyrinthine-apical. Clinically, the presenting symptom of these lesions were facial nerve paralysis (10 patients) and unilateral deafness (13 patients). Total removal of the cholesteatomas was achieved in all patients using different surgical approaches according to their site and extent. Recurrences were observed in two patients after 8 months and 24 months, respectively. The facial nerve was infiltrated and compressed by the cholesteatoma in eight patients. Seven were managed with cable grafts using sural nerve. One of these patients was treated using a facial-hypoglossal anastomosis because of the failure of the graft. In the remaining patient, a baby-sitter procedure was employed. In the other two patients, the preoperative facial paralysis was due to compression by the cholesteatoma, and its removal allowed partial recovery of facial function. The rationale of the surgical management of petrous bone cholesteatoma is its radical and total removal. Our present policy is to prefer approaches which result in a closed cavity obliterating the eustachian tube and closing the auditory canal as a blind sac. Facial nerve function is the main complication of these lesions, Facial nerve involvement requires rapid management because the duration of the paralysis is directly related to poor recovery of facial function.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cholesteatoma / complications*
  • Cholesteatoma / diagnosis
  • Cholesteatoma / surgery
  • Facial Paralysis / etiology*
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss / etiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Petrous Bone*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed