Aural acquired cholesteatoma in children: surgical findings, recurrence and functional results

Eugenio De Corso, Maria Raffaella Marchese, Emanuele Scarano, Gaetano Paludetti
International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology 2006, 70 (7): 1269-73

OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to compare clinical features, surgical findings and treatment results from children and adults affected by aural acquired cholesteatoma.

METHODS: a retrospective review of 60 children (Group I: mean age 8.8 years, range 3-16 years) and 308 adults (Group II: mean age 45.4 years, range 18-81 years) with aural acquired cholesteatoma who underwent surgery from January 1992 to December 2002, was performed with a follow-up of 5 years. All patients were submitted to single-staged canal wall down tympanoplasty. Variables analysed were otoscopic features, extent of cholesteatoma, surgical findings and the rate of recidivism.

RESULTS: The pathologic changes in the tympanic membrane were no different in the two groups. According to Stangerup et al. 40 cases (66.6%) of children were classified as stage III or more, with a significant higher incidence compared to adults (152 cases; 49.3%). Analysis of the ossicular chain state showed, in group I, a significant higher incidence of eroded or absent incus (76.6% versus 61.68%) and malleus (76.6% versus 56.48%), if compared to adults. Children, therefore, had a significantly higher risk of recurrence with a rate of 26.6% in Group I and 6.81% in group II. After surgery the mean gain measured in children group, was 11 dB and 13 dB in adults.

CONCLUSION: In our study we found that the behaviour of cholesteatoma in children appears more aggressive than in adults. In fact, we found a greater extension of the cholesteatoma, a worse state of the ossicular chain and a higher incidence of recurrence. Therefore, we obtained acceptable hearing results both in children and in adults.

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