December 1997

Significance of Epidermoid Formations in the Middle Ear in Fetuses and Children

Author Affiliations

From the Otitis Media Research Center, Department of Otolaryngology (Drs Kayhan, Mutlu, and Paparella and Ms Schachern) and the Department of Biostatistics (Dr Le), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis: and Minnesota Ear Head and Neck Clinic, Minneapolis (Dr Paparella).

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997;123(12):1293-1297. doi:10.1001/archotol.1997.01900120043006

Objective:  To determine the incidence, size, and location of epidermoid formations (EFs), which have been suggested to be precursors of congenital cholesteatomas, in temporal bones from fetuses and children.

Design:  We examined temporal bones from 226 fetuses and children up to the age of 10 years for the incidence, size, and location of EFs.

Results:  Twenty-five EFs were identified in middle ears of 3 fetuses, 7 neonates, 9 infants, and 2 children aged 2 and 3 years. There was a male-female preponderance of 5:4. Generally, we saw EFs between the anterosuperior edge of the eardrum and the anterior limb of the tympanic ring, but 4 were below the level of the handle of the malleus. Their widths ranged from 25 to 300 pm. Keratinization was not observed in any EF. Contrary to previous reports, we found EFs not only in ears of fetuses, but also in ears of infants and children.

Conclusion:  Although EFs may persist in some ears, possibly developing into congenital cholesteatomas, our findings do not provide direct support for this concept.Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997;123:1293-1297