Diagnosis is made based on the patient’s symptoms, physical examination findings and a combination of tests. A common physical examination finding is that of a reddish/bluish mass behind the ear drum (tympanic membrane) (see Figure above). A hearing test and computed tomography scan (CT) are performed routinely. CT is needed to determine the size of a tumor and the relationships of the tumor with structures within the ear. CT tomography is also useful because it can see small erosions or openings in bone.
The vast majority of glomus tympanicum tumors are treated with microsurgical removal. Small glomus tympanicum tumors are removed through incisions confined to the ear canal, while larger glomus tympanicum tumors are removed through an incision behind the ear. Surgical removal of glomus tympanicum tumors is typically performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis (same day surgery). The chance of recurrence is quite low if the tumor is removed completely.