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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

How Simple is This Operation?

04/12/2010

Question:

I have had an ear problem for about 2 years now. It started with an infection in the canal, but when the infection was treated it was discovered that a lump had formed in the bottom of the canal and attached itself to my jaw bone. I have 2 biopsies/operations in the last 18 months, and the lump has been removed. The result was infected skin & bone. They think that I have a condition where the skin is not shedding into the ear canal and therefore clearing naturally, but growing back into the bone underneath the canal. The pain is unbelievable and constant. I’m taking pain killers daily, and have been since this all started, along with every possible strain of antibiotics, but nothing is working. In fact after visiting my surgeon 3 months after the second biopsy I was told the canal has showed no signs of getting any better or getting any worse. My surgeon is now saying that the bone underneath the canal has gone “fibrous” according to a CT scan, and that it needs to be skin grafted. It involves cutting the back of the ear to expose the canal. They intend to clean the canal, polish the bone, and graft skin from behind the ear onto the fibrous bone, to try and encourage new skin growth. One surgeon said he has only seen this twice before, and that it’s quite rare, but another surgeon is saying that it is a routine operation. My question is how simple is this operation? And have you heard of this condition before? Many thanks for your brilliant web site.

Answer:

A canalplasty type ear operation is fairly standard.
Many patients complain of the skin graft donor site more than the ear operative site itself.

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Response by:

Daniel   Choo, MD Daniel Choo, MD
Associate Professor and Director, Division of Otology/Neurotology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati