External ear tumors - benign / nonneoplastic

Keratosis obturans

Topic Completed: 1 October 2013

Minor changes: 14 December 2020

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PubMed Search: Keratosis obturans

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N. Keratosis obturans. PathologyOutlines.com website. https://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/earkeratosisobturans.html. Accessed December 8th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Accumulation of keratin debris deep within external auditory canal, which may cause bone remodeling and inflamed epithelium
  • May cause severe erosion of petrous bone (Br J Radiol 1975;48:170)
Case reports
  • Removal of keratin plug
  • Surgery not required
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Tightly packed keratin squames in lamellar pattern
  • Diffuse acanthosis and hyperkeratosis of skin of canal with underlying chronic inflammatory infiltrate
  • No osteonecrosis, no overlying epithelial loss
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