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Neurosciences and Behavioral Health Center

Cholesterol Granuloma

Cholesterol granuloma (or cholesterol cyst) is a benign, expanding cyst of the petrous apex, thought to occur after a trauma or other incident.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Cholesterol granulomas are diagnosed with CT or MRI scans. Treatment options depend on size and location of the cyst and how rapidly the cyst expands.

Small cholesterol cysts can be watched and followed with serial imaging, while larger lesions are often drained surgically. The long-term risk after surgical drainage is the reconstitution of the cyst wall with the return of fluid.

If the mass is left untreated and continues to expand, it can cause hearing loss, facial weakness, facial numbness, dizziness, imbalance, bone destruction and headache.

Surgical treatments for these cysts include endoscopic endonasal and microsurgical drainage through the temporal (ear) bone.


Call 434.924.2203 or 800.362.2203.


Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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