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Aural polyps

Definition

An aural polyp is a growth in the outside (external) ear canal. It may be attached to the eardrum (tympanic membrane), or it may grow from the middle ear space.

Causes

Aural polyps may be caused by:

Symptoms

Bloody drainage from the ear is the most common symptom. Hearing loss can also occur.

Exams and Tests

An aural polyp is diagnosed through an exam of the ear canal and middle ear using an otoscope or microscope.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the underlying cause. Your doctor may first recommend:

  • Avoiding water in the ear
  • Steroid medications
  • Antibiotic ear drops

If a cholesteatoma is the underlying problem or the condition fails to clear, then surgery may be needed.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have bleeding from an ear.

References

O'Handley JG, Tobin EJ, Shah AR. Otorhinolaryngology. In: Rakel RE, ed. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 19.

Chole RA, Sudhoff HH. Chronic otitis media, mastoiditis, and petrositis. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund LJ, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 139.


Review Date: 8/4/2014
Reviewed By: Ashutosh Kacker, MD, BS, Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Attending Otolaryngologist, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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