Benign ear cyst or tumor : Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Alternate Names : Osteomas, Exostoses, Tumor – ear, Cysts – ear, Ear cysts, Ear tumors

Definition

Benign ear cysts are noncancerous lumps or growths in the ear.

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Sebaceous cysts are the most common type of cysts seen in the ear. They are bulging, sac-like collections of dead skin cells and oils produced by oil glands in the skin.

They commonly occur:

  • Behind the ear
  • In the ear canal
  • In the earlobe
  • On the scalp

The exact cause is unknown, but cysts may occur when oils are produced in a skin gland faster than they can be released from the gland.

Benign bony tumors of the ear canal (exostoses and osteomas) may be caused by excess growth of bone. Repeated exposure to cold water may increase the risk of benign tumors of the ear canal.

Pictures & Images

Ear anatomy

The ear consists of external, middle, and inner structures. The eardrum and the three tiny bones conduct sound from the eardrum to the cochlea.


Review Date : 5/13/2009
Reviewed By : Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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