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Head Neck Pathol. 2012 Jun;6(2):244-6. doi: 10.1007/s12105-011-0314-7. Epub 2011 Dec 20.

External auditory osteoma.

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Department of Anatomic Pathology, Naval Medical Center San Diego, 34800 Bob Wilson Drive, San Diego, CA 92134-5000, USA.


External auditory canal (EAC) osteomas are rare, benign bony neoplasms that occur in wide range of patients. While chronic irritation and inflammation have been suggested as causal factors in several cases, significant data is lacking to support these suspicions. Symptoms are rare and can include hearing loss, vertigo, pain and tinnitus. Diagnosis is made based on a combination of clinical history and examination, radiographic imaging, and histopathology. Osteomas of the EAC are usually found incidentally and are unilateral and solitary. Computed tomography reveals a hyperdense, pedunculated mass arising from the tympanosquamous suture and lateral of the isthmus. Histopathologically, EAC osteomas are covered with periosteum and squamous epithelium, and consist of lamalleted bone surrounding fibrovascular channels with minimal osteocysts. Osteomas have historically been compared and contrasted with exostoses of the EAC. While they share similarities, more often than not it is possible to distinguish the two bony neoplasms based on clinical history and radiographic studies. Debate remains in the medical literature as to whether basic histopathology can distinguish osteomas of the EAC from exostoses. Surgical excision is the standard treatment for EAC osteomas, however close observation is considered acceptable in asymptomatic patients.

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