Since 1995 - Non Profit Healthcare Advice

Soft tissue density – CT scan



My son (age 15) has had serious ear problems for ten years. This has resulted in bilateral tympanomastoidectomies. His last one being approx. 4 years ago. He has had two CT scans and one MRI since the last surgery. I am curious as to what it means when the radiologist states in the CT report that there is abnormal soft tissue density in the resection cavity. This soft tissue has been around for over four years. He has not been the same person healthwise since this last surgery and I`m wondering if this has something to do with it.

Thank You.


Very difficult to speculate on what “soft tissue density” might be without actually reviewing the images or knowing what the ears look like on physical examination.

On the one hand, it would certainly be reasonable to see scar tissue in a patient’s middle ear and mastoid after having undergone bilateral tympanomastoidectomies.

On the other hand, everyone is concerned about recurrent infections or cholesteatomas when they see “soft tissue densities” on scans. But scans alone would never diagnose recurrent problems. It would be standard practice to interpret the scans after considering the physical exam findings and reconciling the two pieces of information. In the setting of a patient with persistent drainage, pain and hearing loss, soft tissue densities might be interpreted more negatively.

In contrast, in a person with a nice dry ear, reasonably good hearing and no pain, soft tissue on a scan is really not a great concern.

For more information:

Go to the Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders health topic.