Middle ear cholesteatoma: An animal model

Charles G. Wright, William L. Meyerchoff, Dennis K. Burns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Topical otic preparations now in clinical use contain a variety of antibiotics and solvents that may produce severe inflammation if they reach the middle ear cavity. This report describes the response of the chinchilla middle ear to direct application of one such preparation that appears to act as a nonspecific irritant. Cortisporin otic suspension (containing neomycin, polymycin B, hydrocortisone, and propylene glycol) was introduced into the bullae of 32 chinchillas that were kept alive for four days to five months before histologic examination of their temporal bones. All the experimental animals had tissue damage and inflammation within the middle ear. The changes observed included proliferation of cillated and secretory columnar cells, formation of granulation tissue, bone erosion, and osteoneogenesis. Some areas of the mucosa underwent metaplasia to stratified squamous epithelium; this metaplastic epithelium, however, did not produce keratin. In the majority of animals kept for two months or more, cholesteatoma was identified in the middle ear. The cholesteatomas appeared to develop as a result of penetration of external canal epidermis through intact tympanic membranes or as the result of migration of epidermis through perforations. The experimental cholesteatomas behaved like those seen clinically in humans, with extensive erosion of bony structures within the middle ear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-341
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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