Pathology of Chronic Otitis Media

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A review of 800 pathological temporal bones collected from autopsy cases revealed 333 (41.6%) to have some type of otitis media; purulent otitis media (52.5%), serous otitis media (6%), mucoid otitis media (4.5%), and chronic otitis media (36.9%). The 123 temporal bones with chronic otitis media were further studied and found to have granulation tissue, cholesteatoma, cholesterin granuloma, bone changes, and fibrosis. Other findings included tympanic membrane perforation, tympanosclerosis, metaplasia of the epithelium with subepithelial glandular formation, suppuration, labyrinthitis, and evidence of complications of chronic otitis media (meningitis, subdural abscess, brain abscess, petrositis, and endolymphatic hydrops). From this study it was concluded: 1) chronic otitis media occurred quite frequently, from a histological standpoint, in the absence of tympanic membrane perforation; 2) granulation tissue in temporal bones was found much more frequently in chronic otitis media than was cholesteatoma; and 3) complications and sequelae of otitis media tended to occur more commonly secondary to granulation tissue than to cholesteatoma.

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