The primary purpose of cholesteatoma surgery is to remove the cholesteatoma and infection and achieve an infection-free, dry ear. Hearing preservation or restoration is the second goal of surgery. In cases of severe ear destruction, reconstruction may not be possible.
Facial nerve repair or procedures to control dizziness are rarely required. Reconstruction of the middle ear is not always possible in one operation; and therefore, a second operation may be performed six to twelve months later. The second operation will attempt to restore hearing and, at the same time, inspect the middle ear space and mastoid for residual cholesteatoma.
Admission to the hospital is usually done the morning of surgery and discharge is usually the same day. For some patients, an overnight stay is necessary. In rare cases of serious infection, prolonged hospitalization for antibiotic treatment may be necessary. Time off from work is typically one to two weeks.
Follow-up office visits after surgical treatment are necessary and important because cholesteatoma sometimes recurs. In some patients, there must be lifelong periodic ear examinations.