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Noticed hard mass on the bottom of ear canal and blood leaking from it. What could this be?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1991
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Hi. I just noticed that I have an incredibly hard mass on the bottom of my ear canal. It does not budge and my husband used an otoscope to look at it and he says it is white and looks almost crystal-like. There was blood coming from the area yesterday and I have touched it wsith an ear curette and it has a rock-like texture (I can hear it scraping but can not really feel it when the curette touches the hard growth). I have a full feeling in my ear, but no pain.

have an appointment scheduled for Monday but am quite concerned - what could this be?!
Posted Thu, 11 Oct 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 1 hour later

Thank you for your query.

1. This is most likely to be an oteoma of the external ear canal. It is relatively rare and usually one sided, painless, often discovered on skull and sinus x-rays incidentally. They tend to grow along suture lines.

2. Get an HRCT (High Resolution CT) Scan of the Temporal Bones done. This will reveal the deeper extent.

3. Exostosis of the external ear canal (Surfer's Ear) is seen when the bony growths are multiple.

4. These benign lesions may be left alone if asymptomatic. Precautions to avoid further bone growth such as exposure to cold water and winds, use of swimming caps may be taken. If the ear fullness and muffled hearing are troubling you, you may get it excised microscopically under local or general anesthesia.

5. There are usually no complications. Care has to be taken to avoid recurrence (complete removal), ear canal stenosis (adequate skin cover over bare bone) and injury to the ear drum, corda tympani and facial nerve.

6. I do not think that the bleeding is worrisome since you have used an ear curette. Normal ear canal skin is very delicate and bleeds on touch. However, if there is any doubt, an excision biopsy will help differentiate this bony growth from even rarer conditions such as a bone cyst, giant cell tumor and so on.

7. You may share a close up image here. Try to add an endo-otoscopic view of both ears for an accurate assessment. CT images may also be shared here.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

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