Treatment of Otophyma

Case Report and Review of the Literature

K. S. Sharma, MRCS, MSc; J. Pollock, MRCS, S. Hasham, MRCS; T. M. Brotherston, FRCS


ePlasty. 2013;13 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Objectives: Otophyma is a rare condition that can present as the end stage of any chronic inflammatory disease affecting the ear such as rosacea, eczema, or otitis externa. It can result in conductive hearing loss, low self-esteem, and social embarrassment. This report highlights a case of otophyma treated successfully using a full-thickness skin graft.

Methods: We present a case of a 41-year-old lady referred to our department with a 23-year history of bilateral otophyma. During this time, her hearing progressively diminished as the swelling occluded her external auditory meatus. She had been unsuccessfully managed for years with topical emollients, steroids, and regular ear toileting.

Result: She was treated by excision of the phymatous tissue and full-thickness grafting, which resulted in a patent external auditory meatus and an improvement in her hearing.

Conclusions: The use of a full-thickness skin graft is one of the many treatment options available for the treatment of otophyma. We present a literature review on this uncommon condition and a discussion on the various treatment options available to the patient.


The phymas are defined as localized swellings of facial soft tissues due to variable combinations of fibrosis, sebaceous hyperplasia, and lymphoedema.[1] The commonest is rhinophyma; however, other areas can be affected including the forehead (metrophyma), chin (gnathophyma), eyelids (blepharophyma), and ears (otophyma). Bilateral otophyma is a rare subtype of the family of phymas, with only a few cases described in world literature. This article presents a case with a 23-year history bilateral otophyma resulting in conductive hearing loss. Its assessment, investigations, pathology, surgical treatment, and a concise review of the literature are discussed.