Atelectasis of the middle ear, synonymous with that of the lung, is a variable collapse of the middle ear space, associated with retraction pockets formed by extreme atrophy of the tympanic membrane. It is a common condition in the paediatric patient population presenting to the Sophia Children’s Hospital and though much controversy still surrounds the aetiology and progression, there is a clear association with the development of cholesteatoma. There is however almost always an associated otitis media with effusion (OME), though this may have cleared up by the time the patient is seen. Observations and careful follow-up of the patients, though not the optimal method for elucidating the progression, does, in the absence of a suitable animal model, allow cautious estimates of possible aetiological developments.

atelectasis, children, middle ear problems
L. Feenstra (Louw)
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Borgstein, J.A. (2009, April). Surgical Observations on Atelectasis of the Middle Ear in Children. Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam. Retrieved from