External ear tumors - benign / nonneoplastic

Author: Nat Pernick, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 23 February 2018, last major update October 2013

Copyright: (c) 2002-2018, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: Exostosis [title] ear

Cite this page: Pernick, N. Exostosis. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/earexostosis.html. Accessed July 22nd, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Also called surfer's ear
  • Reactive, localized overgrowth of bone with a broad base
  • Called osteoma if pedunculated
  • Arises from wall of external auditory canal
  • Usually multiple and bilateral; asymptomatic until large enough to block external auditory canal
  • Highest incidence in cold water swimmers and surfers in Australia and New Zealand (J Laryngol Otol 2004;118:348)
Gross description
  • Broad based, mound like bony proliferation resembling normal cortical bone (however pathologist usually only gets fragments)
  • No bone marrow spaces
  • Bone is covered by periosteum with overlying thin skin
Differential diagnosis