While some small, limited cholesteatomas can be managed with regular cleaning, eardrops, and follow-up care, most benefit from surgery. The aim of surgery is to remove the invading skin cells and surrounding inflammation or infection to make the ear dry and safe from further damage. The recommended surgical approach depends on the size and extent of the cholesteatoma.
Sometimes the cholesteatoma may be removed during an outpatient surgery under general anesthesia that involves an incision behind the ear. Larger operations it may require an inpatient stay.