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Primary melanoma of the petrous temporal bone

| Reprints
July 21, 2015
by Jonathan L. McJunkin, MD; Richard J. Wiet, MD, FACS


Melanoma is a malignant tumor of melanocytes that is predominantly found in the skin. In rare cases, it arises from mucosal melanocytes. We describe a case of a solitary melanoma of the petrous apex of the temporal bone in a 67-year-old woman who presented with sudden hearing loss, aural fullness, and headaches, all on the right side. Magnetic resonance imaging identified a mass located at the right petrous apex; the lesion was hyperintense on T1-weighted imaging and isointense on T2 weighting, and it enhanced brightly with gadolinium contrast. The patient underwent removal of the lesion via a transcochlear approach with facial nerve translocation. Intra- and postoperative pathology identified a poorly differentiated malignancy consistent with a melanoma. Further investigations found no evidence of metastasis. Given a concern for residual disease, the patient was treated with radiation to the primary site. To the best of our knowledge, only 1 other case of primary melanoma of the petrous apex has been described in the literature.

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