✓ Cholesterol granulomas of the head are relatively rare. Isolated lesions of the cerebellopontine angle are even more uncommon. In this report, 17 cases of petrous apex cholesterol granulomas are presented and management is discussed.
Symptoms at presentation included dizziness (14 patients), pressure (nine patients), tinnitus (eight patients), hearing loss (eight patients), otalgia (six patients), headache (six patients), nausea (three patients), drainage from ear (two patients), facial pain (two patients), seizure (two patients), lightheadedness (one patient), hemifacial spasm (one patient), and facial numbness (one patient). Six cases were managed without surgery and 11 patients underwent operative procedures. The approaches used included the infralabyrinthine (eight patients), transcanal—infracochlear (two patients), and translabyrinthine (one patient). The mean follow-up period for all cases was 29.5 months. Of those patients managed without surgery, symptoms improved in all except one, whose tinnitus was slightly worse. Of surgically treated patients, symptoms improved or remained the same except in one with worsened dizziness. There were nine patients with hearing present presurgery and seven whose hearing was preserved postsurgery. The authors present a case that was managed at another center where an attempt at surgical resection through a subtemporal middle fossa approach was unsuccessful. This lesion was successfully treated using an infralabyrinthine approach with drainage into the mastoid cavity.
Cholesterol granulomas of the petrous apex can be managed without surgery when symptoms are stable or improve. Otherwise, a transmastoid extradural approach with simple drainage into the mastoid sinus or middle ear produces symptomatic improvement with low morbidity. Resection of petrous apex cholesterol granulomas is not necessary.