Objective: To determine whether aeration of surgically treated petrous apex cholesterol granulomas (PA CG) has any correlation with resolution of symptoms. Study Design: Retrospective chart review. Subjects: Twenty-six patients with a petrous apex cholesterol granuloma during a 16-year period were reviewed. Results: Seventeen of 26 (65%) patients underwent surgical intervention. Preoperative symptoms included headache, facial weakness/twitching or numbness, vertigo, hearing loss, vision changes, and tinnitus. Postoperative symptoms resolved in 9 of the 16 patients (56%). Three patients had a postoperative headache. Facial nerve dysfunction persisted or recurred in four patients. One patient was lost to follow-up. Thirteen patients had postoperative imaging. All 13 (100%) patients demonstrated stable or increased size of PA CG with no evidence of aeration. Revision surgery was performed in four patients (25%) for facial nerve symptoms or persistent headaches. Conclusion: The extent of PA CG aeration on postoperative imaging had no correlation to symptom resolution or cyst enlargement. Revision surgery should not depend on imaging alone but primarily on patient symptoms and physical exam.
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