Nasopharyngeal polyps, also called otopharyngeal or inflammatory polyps, are benign pedunculated growths of uncertain origin but thought to arise as a result of chronic inflammation. Polyps have been associated with rhinitis and otitis resulting from various bacterial and viral agents; a congenital origin has been suggested as well. They may originate from the mucosal lining of the middle ear, auditory tube, and nasopharynx, all of which are of similar histologic origin. Otopharyngeal polyps occur in cats of any age, although most animals are less than 2-years old. Polyps in the external or middle ear mimic signs of otitis externa, otitis media or otitis interna.
Otoscopy after flushing may reveal a visible pink or grey smooth, spherical mass occluding the canal. Cytologic or histologic examination of biopsies will reveal the nature of the tissue when the diagnosis is not straightforward. Some surgeons perform a ventral bulla osteotomy in all cases, but this is rarely indicated because recurrence is uncommon with simple traction-avulsion after an incision in the vertical ear canal.
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