Challenges and outcomes of cholesteatoma management in children with Down syndrome

Saied Ghadersohi, Bharat Bhushan, Kathleen R. Billings*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: The high incidence of chronic otitis media with effusion and Eustachian tube dysfunction in children with Down syndrome (DS) may predispose them to cholesteatoma formation. Establishing the diagnosis, choosing the appropriate operative intervention, and post-operative care can be challenging. Objective: To describe management strategies for cholesteatoma diagnosis, surgical treatment, and post-operative management in children with Down syndrome. Methods: Retrospective case series of 14 patients (17 total ears) with Down syndrome diagnosed with cholesteatoma over a 9-year period. Results: A total of 14 patients with cholesteatoma (3 with bilateral disease) were analyzed. Thirteen ears (76.5%) had ≥2 tympanostomy tubes insertions prior to cholesteatoma diagnosis, and otorrhea and hearing loss were the most common presenting symptoms. Common pre-operative CT scan findings included mastoid sclerosis and ossicular erosion. The average age at first surgery was 9.8 years, and the average follow-up was 4.3 years. For acquired cholesteatoma, most ears were managed with canal wall up (CWU) approaches, but ultimately 6/15 (40.0%) required canal wall down (CWD) approaches. Postoperatively, 3 (20.0%) ears developed new tympanic membrane retraction pockets, but no recurrent cholesteatoma. Four (26.7%) ears developed recurrent disease, and 3 (20.0%) had residual disease at secondary procedures. Ossiculoplasty was performed in 4 ears. Twelve (70.6%) ears were rehabilitated with hearing aids or FM systems. Conclusions: The diagnosis of cholesteatoma in Down syndrome was associated with otorrhea, hearing loss, and CT scan findings of ossicular erosion and mastoid sclerosis. Most cases were managed with CWU surgical approaches. Hearing aid use was common post-operatively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-84
Number of pages5
JournalInternational journal of pediatric otorhinolaryngology
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Cholesteatoma
  • Down syndrome
  • Pediatric cholesteatoma
  • Tympanomastoidectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Otorhinolaryngology


Dive into the research topics of 'Challenges and outcomes of cholesteatoma management in children with Down syndrome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this