Cauliflower Ear

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Cauliflower ear (technical name is perichondral hematoma) is a condition due to auricle trauma when the blood vessels in the perichondrium are damaged. Due to this, hematoma is formed in the ear canal what separates cartilage membrane from ear cartilage. These hematomas, which trigger this condition really, take the shape of collections of fluids that cannot be sap from the ear. Typically start as tiny, hard lumps, and gradually and painfully alter into huge pockets of fluid that are spongy and aching to the touch. The cauliflower ear will be pale due to inadequate blood supply, making the similarity even more accurate.

This is especially characteristic for long-standing, untreated cases. If we are lucky, the hematoma will diffuse itself in very rare cases. The skin separated from the nutritional source provided by the cartilage, will necroses. The skin shrink and gathers up because it is not getting adequate amount of blood, and once a cauliflower ear developed, it is very difficult to undo. The ability for re-accumulation of blood is huge because this.

The explanation for this condition usually can be the consequences of a repetitive, closed trauma on ear canal – usually tangentially acting shear stress. Often occurs with boxers, wrestlers and martial artists, and it is often considered, at least by them, a proof of guts and experience. We can add, cauliflower ear has become a badge of manhood that is worn with honor. It mostly happen when a hand, foot, head touch the ear. This injury is reasonably fully avoidable by wearing headgear and the deterrence is the easiest, least hurting, and best path by far. But if it happened, the best solution is to see a professional (preferably an otolaryngologist-ear, nose and throat specialist or plastic surgeon) for best treatment as soon as possible after the damage.

With ice pack, we can help to the area of the trauma with poultice in 15 – 20 minute intervals (with 15 – 20 minutes rest in between) until a professional cannot help. Because the ear is defenseless to infections, it is important to heal these hematomas, even if the patient is not troubled with the cosmetic look of the ear.

When treated insistently and on time, cauliflower ear deformity is not likely to occur. It possible to remove blood by suction, if the hematoma is cut. If it is empty, it needs 3-7 days of tourniquets to be placed, so that the hematoma does not recur, even though a doctor may also leave a small fluid drain. If the cut on the ear is exposed to the full ear thickness, after the area of cut will go thorough cleansing before the skin is stitched. After this, it is necessarily to make a protective bandage on it and the cartilage is recoverable now. It is important that the cartilage will not be stitched opposite to skin. As a final point, the patient will get antibiotics to put a stop to infection. If this condition is healed early enough and on proper manner, a person normally will not gain cauliflower ear anymore.

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