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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, incidence, and risk factors

Aural polyps may be caused by:

Symptoms

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

Signs and tests

An aural polyp is diagnosed through an examination 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.

Calling your health care provider

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: 8/30/2012
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Seth Schwartz, MD, MPH, Otolaryngologist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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