The exact aetiology of congenital cholesteatoma, the less common form of this destructive disease, is still under debate.
A two-year-old boy was referred to paediatric otolaryngology with persistent, bloody, left-sided otorrhoea refractory to oral and ototopical antibiotics. Prior to its onset at age 16 months, all ear examinations on the affected side were normal. Physical examination, imaging with computed tomography and eventual tympanomastoidectomy revealed extensive cholesteatoma. The extent of the disease, age at onset of symptoms and absence of otological disease before initial presentation suggested the diagnosis of congenital cholesteatoma. Review of the family history revealed that the patient's older brother had undergone tympanomastoidectomy for a small, well-encapsulated, mesotympanic congenital cholesteatoma at two years of age.
This case joins a single, previous report describing congenital cholesteatoma in multiple family members, suggesting that in some cases, hereditary factors may play a role in the formation of the disease.
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