The aim of the study was to evaluate the long-term results after surgery for acquired cholesteatoma in children and to contribute to the search for predictors of recurrence. During a 15-year period, 114 children underwent surgery. The patients were re-evaluated with a median observation time of 5.8 years. At the last re-evaluation 85 per cent of the ears were dry with an intact drum. Recurrence of cholesteatoma developed in 27 ears. The cumulated total recurrence rate was 24 per cent using the incidence rate calculation, applying Kaplan-Meier survival analysis the corresponding recurrence was 33 per cent. Recurrent disease occurred significantly more frequently in children younger than eight years, with a negative pre-operative Valsalva, with ossicular resorption and with large cholesteatomas. In conclusion, young children with poor Eustachian tube function and a large cholesteatoma with erosion of the ossicular chain, are at special risk of recurrence and should be observed for several years after surgery.