A rare entity: Benign osteonecrosis of the temporal bone

Alexandra G. Whittaker, Brian J. McKinnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To investigate the factors that may contribute to the rare disease process of benign osteonecrosis of the temporal bone and to differentiate this poorly understood disease from other disorders. Methods: A retrospective chart review using tertiary academic medical center electronic medical records (EMR) for otolaryngology was performed in August 2021. The study included data from January 1, 2014, to June 30, 2020. The patients were identified by a series of predetermined criteria. Their demographic information and clinical course were qualitatively compared. Patients with a history of radiation to the head or neck or who had other otolaryngologic comorbidities were excluded from the study. Inclusion/exclusion criteria were used to filter patients and a thorough chart review was conducted among the patients identified. Results: A total of three patients were identified that met criteria for the study upon thorough chart review. Out of these patients, all were male, fell within the age range of 67–78 years old and had a history of hypertension. Two out of three had diabetes. In all cases, the plan included supportive care and regular follow up appointments. Conclusion: Benign osteonecrosis of the temporal bone is a rare disease that is difficult to diagnose and even more complicated to document. There is no specific ICD-10 code for this disease making it exceedingly difficult to identify patients with a simple EMR search. Several previously hypothesized risk factors were studied in this review. The limited patient population makes it difficult to confidently identify risks. In the patients studied, the commonalities included that they were all men, above the age of 67 when diagnosed, and all had a history of hypertension. To fully understand this rare entity further research must be conducted and more patients must be studied to aid with the identification of risk factors and clinical diagnosis of this condition. Level of Evidence: 4.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1087-1090
Number of pages4
JournalLaryngoscope investigative otolaryngology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • benign osteonecrosis of the temporal bone
  • chronic otitis externa
  • ear fullness
  • external auditory canal cholesteatoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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