Contemporary management of keratosis obturans: A systematic review

J. A. Harounian, V. A. Patel, H. Isildak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective This study aimed to examine the medical literature regarding the natural history and management of keratosis obturans. Method PubMed was queried via the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses protocol, and the methodological quality of each study was assessed using the Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies criteria. Results Fifty-one studies were abstracted, and dual investigator screening resulted in five retrospective studies for final analysis. All studies included patients afflicted with either unilateral (n = 75) or bilateral keratosis obturans (n = 8). The definition of keratosis obturans was present in three studies: A desquamated keratin plug within the external auditory canal. Mean and median Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies scores were 9.5 and 9.5, respectively. All patients underwent keratosis obturans exenteration with microscopy. Two studies reported an outcome instrument to evaluate endpoints: marked stillette and audiometry. No complications were observed with follow-up periods from 3 weeks to 3.5 years. Conclusion This comprehensive review highlights a lack of published evidence relating to keratosis obturans. However, it appears keratosis obturans treatment is safe and efficacious with identifiable clinical practice patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)759-764
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Laryngology and Otology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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