Comparative case series of exostoses and osteomas of the internal auditory canal
Exostoses and osteomas are benign bony lesions of the auditory canal. Although common in the external auditory canal, they are rare and difficult to distinguish in the internal auditory canal (IAC). In this literature review and case presentation, we define radiologic and histologic criteria to differentiate exostoses from osteomas of the IAC. Two patients with exostoses and 1 patient with an osteoma of the IAC are described here. Patient 1 presented with disabling vertigo and was found to have bilateral exostoses with nerve impingement on the right. After removal of the right-sided exostoses via retrosigmoid craniotomy, the patient had complete resolution of her symptoms over 1 year. Patient 2 presented with bilateral pulsatile tinnitus and vertigo and was found to have bilateral IAC exostoses. Patient 3 presented with hearing loss and tinnitus, and a unilateral IAC osteoma was ultimately discovered. Because of the mild nature of their symptoms, patients 2 and 3 were managed without surgery. We show that IAC osteomas can be differentiated from exostoses by radiographic evidence of bone marrow in high-resolution computed tomography scans, or by the presence of fibrovascular channels on histologic analysis. Management of these rare entities is customized on the basis of patient symptoms.