Pediatric Cholesteatoma Surgery Using a Single-Staged Canal Wall Down Approach: Results of a 5-Year Longitudinal Study

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To present the results of a 5-year longitudinal study in a pediatric population undergoing surgery for extensive cholesteatoma using a canal wall down (CWD) approach with obliteration.

Study Design

Prospective longitudinal study.


Children (<16 years) undergoing surgery for cholesteatoma (58 ears) between 1999 and 2013.




District general hospital.

Main Outcome Measures

(1) Residual, recurrence, and recidivist cholesteatoma rates at 5 years post-surgery; (2) postoperative hearing; (3) postoperative waterproofing of the ear; (4) number of subsequent ear surgery required.


Fifty-five children (58 ears) contributed to the study. At 5 years, 16 of 58 (27.6%) had been lost to follow-up. Using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis, the residual rate after 5 years was 9.9% (95% CI: 3.8–24.4%), representing four residual cholesteatomas, and there were no recurrences detected. Using a cross-sectional analysis at 12 months of follow-up, the otorrhea risk was 0% and the risk of definitive waterproofing was 94.8%. There was a re-operation risk of 17.2% within 5 years which included second-stage ossiculoplasty. Regarding hearing, of the data available (n = 16), 10 children (62.5%) maintained their hearing (change between −10 and =10 dB), 2 (12.5%) had hearing gain (>10 dB), and 4 children (25%) had hearing reduction at 12 months postoperation. Four of 16 children (25%) had a postoperative hearing level of 30 dB or lower.


The use of a CWD approach with obliteration of the mastoid cavity to surgically treat extensive cholesteatoma in children results in a low recurrence rate and high rate of a trouble-free ear in the long term.

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