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Medical Term:


Pronunciation: ko'les-te'a-to'ma


  1. Squamous metaplasia or extension of squamous cell epithelium inward to line an expanding cystic cavity that may involve the middle ear or mastoid, erode surrounding bone, and become filled with a mass of keratinized squamous cell epithelial debris, usually resulting from chronic otitis media. The lesion often contains cholesterol clefts surrounded by inflammatory and foreign body giant cells, hence the name cholesteatoma.
  2. An epidermoid cyst arising in the central nervous system in humans or animals.

[cholesterol + G. stear (steat-), tallow, + -oma, tumor]

© Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.