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Open Access Highly Accessed Case report

Cholesterol granuloma presenting as a mass obstructing the external ear canal

Vasilios Nikolaidis*, Hariklia Malliari, Dimosthenis Psifidis and Spyridon Metaxas

Author Affiliations

2nd Department of Otolaryngology, Aristotle University., Papageorgiou G.H., Thessaloniki, Greece

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BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders 2010, 10:4  doi:10.1186/1472-6815-10-4

Published: 5 April 2010



Cholesterol granuloma (CG) may involve the middle ear, the mastoid bone and the petrous apex. However, CG presenting as a mass obstructing the external ear canal (EEC) is relatively rare and it can be a diagnostic challenge.

Case Presentation

We report a case of a CG occupying the mastoid antrum and presenting as a mass into the EEC. Temporal bone computerized tomography showed a soft tissue mass which eroded the posterior-superior bony wall of the EEC. On magnetic resonance imaging, the mass revealed a high signal on both T1 and T2-weighted images. The CG was removed by a mastoidectomy procedure and the histopathologic report confirmed the diagnosis of CG. A type III tympanoplasty was performed.


The postoperative course was uneventful.