Aural Polyps: Aural polyps are benign, fleshy growths that arise from the skin or glands of the external ear canal or from the surface lining of the tympanic membrane.  Aural polyps usually result from chronic irritation of the skin of the ear canal or eardrum. They can also arise from the middle ear and prolapse into the ear canal through a perforation in the tympanic membrane. Aural polyps can also be a manifestation of cholesteatoma.  A polypoid (polyp looking) lesion, that bleeds easily may be a cancer arising from the skin of the ear canal. Very rarely, an aural polyp may be brain tissue prolapsing through the a defect on the roof on the mastoid cavity or the middle ear. The symptoms patients may present with include ear pain, discharge, bleeding, blocked ears or hearing loss.

Aural Polyps-2

A. Aural polyp causes by use of a sharp object to clean the ear canal. B. An aural polyps prolapsing through a perforation in the tympanic membrane. C. Infected cholesteatoma presenting with an aural polyp on oto-endoscopy. D: A vascular polypoid lesion suspected to be a malignancy. Biopsy confirmed a carcinoma arising from the skin of the ear canal.

Otoscopy or otoendoscopy examination will show the lesion. Further management will depend on what is suspected and may include a imaging studies such as CT scan of the temporal bone or a biopsy. If the polyp is caused by an infection and is arising from the ear canal it may be treated with topical and oral antibiotics. A biopsy or removal is indicated if it does not respond to medical treatment or malignancy is suspected When a cholesteatoma is suspected imaging studies like CT scan will help in determining the extent of the disease. Management of most cholesteaoma require surgical intervention. A biopsy is of the polyp is needed when a cancer is suspected.


A: arrow pointing to an aural polyp at the entrance of the left ear canal. B: MRI scan showed that the “aural polyp” was in fact brain tissue that was herniating into the ear canal and presenting as an aural polyp