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Tympanic Cholesterol Granuloma and Exclusive Endoscopic Approach

Diletta Angeletti, Annalisa Pace, Giannicola Iannella, Valeria Rossetti, Andrea Colizza, Cira Di Gioia, Giuseppe Magliulo

(Department of Sense Organs, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy)

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e925369

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.925369

BACKGROUND: Cholesterol granuloma is a histological entity containing cholesterol crystals surrounded by foreign-body giant cells and chronic inflammation. Tympanic cholesterol granuloma is a rare disease, while petrous bone cholesterol granuloma is more common. Surgery consists of elective management in most cases of CGs. There are several types of surgery described to treat cholesterol granuloma; however, a case treated by primary endoscopic ear surgery has not yet been described.
The aim of this case report is to present the endoscopic characteristics of cholesterol granulomas and show how endoscopic ear surgery is possible in isolated and selected cases with this pathology.
CASE REPORT: We report the case of a 65-year-old patient affected by a cholesterol granuloma of the middle ear, with progressive hearing impairment and fullness of the left ear. The granuloma was diagnosed via medical imaging using magnetic resonance imaging, which identified the typical high signal intensity in T1- and T2-weighted images. In this case, cholesterol granuloma was limited to the epitympanic and mesotympanic regions. For small cholesterol granulomas confined to the middle ear, a canal wall-up or wall-down tympanoplasty plus ventilation tube insertion are usually performed. In this case, primary endoscopic surgery was performed under general anaesthesia to remove the presumed cholesterol granuloma. It was completely removed by this approach, without facial nerve injuries or postoperative complications. The patient had no disease recurrence at clinical and radiological investigation at 1-year follow-up.
CONCLUSIONS: An exclusive endoscopic approach to remove cholesterol granuloma is feasible. However, it should only be performed in selected cases.

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