Cauliflower ear Definition
It is a malformation of the external ear that often results due to repeated blows. It is commonly seen in wrestlers, boxers, rugby players, and martial artists. Cauliflower-like ears also occur in some diseased animals such as dogs. The painful condition is also known by other names like:
Traumatic auricular hematoma
Cauliflower ear Symptoms
The intensity of the traumatic injury determines the severity of the symptoms. Apart from the deformity, sufferers experience inflammation, pain and bruising. In adverse cases, patients may suffer from audio impairment, abnormal ear noise and swollen face. Since the ear is affected, bouts of headaches and blurry vision are common signs of the problem.
Cauliflower ear Causes
A sudden blow to the ear can cause deep injury and disrupt the blood supply from the skin. In fact, repetitive blunt trauma can gradually lead to hematoma, a small blood clot, or accumulation of pus beneath the perichondrium. The cauliflower-like appearance occurs when the cartilage loses contact with the perichondrium and fails to receive the nutrients required for its growth. As the skin gets separated from the cartilage by the pocket of blood or infection, its vitality gets completely exhausted and causes death. For this reason, the bacterial infection increases and begins to spread to other regions of the ear. In the absence of treatment, the damage becomes permanent resulting in scarring of the tissue. The ear undergoes malformation when the cartilage contracts on itself and gradually shrinks. Lack of blood supply to the ear causes paleness and numbness.
According to some medical experts, piercing the upper ear in the cartilage can lead to auricular perichondritis, an inflammatory condition of the auricle.
Cauliflower ear Diagnosis
The lumpy shape of the ear is indicative of the condition. The tenderness of the ear is also obvious during the physical examination. A history of traumatic injuries, particularly during a sport like boxing or wrestling, confirms the cause of the ear deformity.
Cauliflower ear Treatment and Draining
The accumulated blood in the ear is detrimental to the cartilage and should be immediately drained out. In order to enable draining of the fluid, a minute incision in the ear is made followed by dressing of the wound. Administration of antibiotics is imperative for reducing the infection of the outer ear. The main aim of these treatment procedures is to re-connect the cartilage with the perichondrium. Wrinkled ear can be, however, corrected with the help of cosmetic surgery.
Cauliflower ear Prognosis
Instant medical aid and proper care can prevent the ear from getting deformed. Delayed treatment can cause early damage of the ear cartilage.
Cauliflower ear Prevention
These forms of contact sports injuries can be prevented by wearing head gears or helmets. Use of such protective coverings protects the ear from both major and minor injuries.
Cauliflower ear Pictures