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A cholesteatoma is a cyst or sac of skin that is growing backwards behind your eardrum into the middle ear and mastoid. It results in a chronic, smelly discharge, and the longer it remains the more damage it can do to the delicate structures of the ear.
After the disease has been removed from the mastoid and middle ear, a tissue graft is used to seal up any hole in the eardrum, and packing placed in the ear canal. This is called Mastoidectomy and Tympanoplasty.