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What happens if cholesteatomas aren't treated?

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If you've had a cholesteatoma for a long time and haven't treated it, it can grow into other areas of your ear, like the part you use for balance. More seriously, it can turn into an infection in your inner ear or even in your brain. This can cause pus-filled swelling in your brain or meningitis. Both are rare.

SOURCES:

American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: "Cholesteatoma."

American Journal of Neuroradiology: "Neuroradiology of Cholesteatomas."

Mayo Clinic: "CT Scan."

Medscape: "Cholesteatoma."

Mount Sinai Hospital: "Cholesteatoma."

NHS Choices: "Cholesteatoma."

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on February 8, 2019

SOURCES:

American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: "Cholesteatoma."

American Journal of Neuroradiology: "Neuroradiology of Cholesteatomas."

Mayo Clinic: "CT Scan."

Medscape: "Cholesteatoma."

Mount Sinai Hospital: "Cholesteatoma."

NHS Choices: "Cholesteatoma."

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on February 8, 2019

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What causes a cholesteatoma?

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