Ear Disorders Expert Forum
mastoid tumor
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Questions in the Ear Disorders forum are answered by Dr. Eric Wilkinson. Topics include acoustic neuroma, skull base tumors, hearing loss, cochlear implants, stapes surgery, eardrum repair, chronic ear infection, facial nerve problems, childhood deafness, vertigo, balance disorders, and tinnitus.

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mastoid tumor

Hi, I am a 44 year old female that had an MRI done 3 years ago due to a long history of vascular migraines.  They found on the MRI that I had multiple lesions.  Well, I have been also having problems with ear pain for the past 8 years and just went to see an ENT this week.   She said that my ear looked perfect inside, but wanted to see the MRI to look at to see if there might be something else causing the pain in my one ear.  I should mention that I only get the pain if I go outside and it is chilly and the cold air hits my ear.  I then wake up that night with a bad earache.  So, I brought a copy of the MRI to her and she said there was a thumbsize spot on the mastoid on the one ear.  The original radiologist never noted this when I had the MRI done 3 years ago, just the lesions.  She ordered a CAT scan and today she called to say that the lump was still there and was the same size.  She said that she would recommend removing this to make sure it is not cancerous.  I am nervous because I read online that this surgery can have negative effects such as ongoing vertigo, facial paralysis.  Can you give me your feelings on:  1.  If this is malignant, wouldn't it have grown in size over three years, and wouldn't I have symptoms all the time?  2.  If it is just leftover infection, wouldn't one usually want to treat with antibiotics first and see if it goes away before jumping into surgery?  3.  I already occasionally have vertigo from my migraine history and am terrified of the risk of having it all the time.  Is there a way to just biopsy the spot and see if it is infection or malignant?  We are meeting with the doctor in a couple of weeks, but if you could answer some of these questions, it would relieve my mind some.  Thank you very much.

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There is really no way of knowing what this lesion is without examining you and looking at the CT scan.  Have they given you any sort of differential diagnosis of what this might be?

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical
advice - the information presented is for patients education only.
Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your
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Avatar_n_tn
She thought it might be a pocket of left over infection, a tumor (benign or malignant), or something called glomus?  I just think that having surgery to remove is a little extreme at this point, since I don't have any symptoms other than getting an ear ache in that ear if I don't wear a hat outside.  I don't have pain all the time, no drainage, no fever, etc.  And, I never even knew I had this until this week.  I could have had this for many years. I wonder if I got it from a child as I used to get nasty tonsillitis all the time as a kid.   I know for sure that it has been at least 3 years because it is on the original MRI as I stated from 3 years ago.  That radiologist never even noted it, so I think if it was cancer wouldn't he have noted that?  Also I saw the MRI and what she is talking about is the size of my thumbnail and kinda milky white in color on the film.  It is not as white as the lesions are and it is not in the brain.  It is in the mastoid.  That is all I can tell you so far.  If you have any other comments, I would appreciate it.  Thanks.
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