St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Benign ear cyst or tumor

    Osteomas; Exostoses; Tumor - ear; Cysts - ear; Ear cysts; Ear tumors; Bony tumor of the ear canal

    Benign ear cysts are noncancerous lumps or growths in the ear.

    Causes

    Sebaceous cysts are the most common type of cysts seen in the ear. They are bulging, sac-like collections of dead skin cells and oils produced by oil glands in the skin.

    They commonly occur:

    • Behind the ear
    • In the ear canal
    • In the earlobe
    • On the scalp

    The exact cause is unknown, but cysts may occur when oils are produced in a skin gland faster than they can be released from the gland.

    Benign bony tumors of the ear canal (exostoses and osteomas) may be caused by excess growth of bone. Repeated exposure to cold water may increase the risk of benign bony tumors of the ear canal.

    Symptoms

    The symptoms of cysts include:

    • Pain (if cysts are in the outside ear canal or get infected)
    • Small soft skin lumps on, behind, or in front of the ear

    The symptoms of benign tumors include:

    • Ear discomfort
    • Gradual hearing loss in one ear
    • Repeated outer ear infections

    Note: There may be no symptoms.

    Exams and Tests

    Benign cysts and tumors are usually discovered during a routine ear examination, which can include hearing tests (audiometry) and middle ear testing (tympanometry). When looking into the ear, the doctor may see cysts or benign tumors in the ear canal.

    Sometimes a CT scan is needed.

    This disease may also affect the results of the following tests:

    • Caloric stimulation
    • Electronystagmography

    Treatment

    If the cyst or tumor is not painful and does not interfere with hearing, treatment is not necessary.

    If a cyst becomes painful, it may be infected. Treatment may include antibiotics or removal of the cyst.

    Benign bony tumors may progressively increase in size. If a benign tumor is painful, interferes with hearing, or leads to frequent ear infections, surgery to remove the tumor may be necessary.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Benign ear cysts and tumors are usually slow-growing and may disappear on their own.

    Possible Complications

    • Hearing loss if the tumor is large
    • Infection of the cysts
    • Infection of the ear canal
    • Wax trapped in the ear canal

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have:

    • Symptoms of a benign ear cyst or tumor
    • Discomfort, pain, or hearing loss

    References

    O’Handley JG, Tobin EJ, Shah AR. Otorhinolaryngology. In: Rakel RE, ed. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 19.

    Nicolai P, Castelnuovo P. Benign tumors of the sinonasal tract. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 49.

    Warren FM III, Shelton C, Wiggins RH III. Neuroradiology of the temporal bone and skull base. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 135.

    BACK TO TOP

    • Ear anatomy

      illustration

      • Ear anatomy

        illustration

      A Closer Look

      Talking to your MD

        Self Care

          Tests for Benign ear cyst or tumor

            Review Date: 8/30/2012

            Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Seth Schwartz, MD, MPH, Otolaryngologist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
            adam.com

            A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


            Back  |  Top
            About Us
            Contact Us
            History
            Mission
            Locations & Directions
            Quality Reports
            Annual Reports
            Honors & Awards
            Community Health Needs
            Assessment

            Newsroom
            Services
            Brain & Spine
            Cancer
            Heart
            Maternity
            Orthopedics
            Pulmonary
            Sleep Medicine
            Urgent Care
            Women's Services
            All Services
            Patients & Visitors
            Locations & Directions
            Find a Physician
            Tour St. Luke's
            Patient & Visitor Information
            Contact Us
            Payment Options
            Financial Assistance
            Send a Card
            Mammogram Appointments
            Health Tools
            My Personal Health
            mystlukes
            Spirit of Women
            Health Information & Tools
            Clinical Trials
            Health Risk Assessments
            Employer Programs -
            Passport to Wellness

            Classes & Events
            Classes & Events
            Spirit of Women
            Donate & Volunteer
            Giving Opportunities
            Volunteer
            Physicians & Employees
            For Physicians
            Remote Access
            Medical Residency Information
            Pharmacy Residency Information
            Physician CPOE Training
            Careers
            Careers
            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
            Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile