What Is Head and Neck Osteoma?

An osteoma is a new piece of bone usually growing on another piece of bone, typically the skull. When the bone tumor grows on other bone it is known as “homoplastic osteoma”; when it grows on other tissue it is called “heteroplastic osteoma”. When symptoms are present, they vary according to the osteoma’s location within the head and neck, and are usually related to compression of the cranial nerves. Such symptoms may include disturbances in vision, hearing and cranial nerve palsies. Larger osteoma may cause facial pain, headache, and infection.

Diagnosis of Head and Neck Osteoma

To diagnose an osteoma, your doctor will conduct a physical exam and ask about any symptoms you are experiencing. However, most osteomas don’t cause any symptoms. Osteomas can be identified on CT scans. Bone scans may also be used to confirm diagnosis.

Treatment at Penn

Treatment of osteomas is only necessary if they are symptomatic. Large osteomas should be evaluated to rule out other diagnoses. The most common treatment option for osteomas is surgery on the skull base. Osteomas of the skull base may be approached directly using endoscopic sinus surgery. This minimally invasive approach allows surgeons to access the tumor through the natural corridor of the nose, without making an open incision. Surgeons then remove the osteomas through the nose and nasal cavities.

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