Cauliflower ear, additionally known as perichondrial hematoma, is a ede of the ear caused by a blood clot. This blood clot reasons tissue damage that leader to a lumpy appearance the is said to resemble a cauliflower.

Typically, those in ~ risk have the right to prevent the kinds of injuries that result in this problem by wearing protective headgear.

The ear is specifically vulnerable come this sort of injury since it protrudes from the head. The blood supply to the cartilage that supports the ear and also keeps its shape is listed by the overlying skin. Once this supply is interrupted, by either multiple clots or pressure resulted in by swelling, this cartilage may die off.

This deserve to lead come the thickening and scarring of organization in the ear and also the development of brand-new cartilage.


Share top top PinterestRepeated trauma come the ear indigenous high-impact sports may raise the danger of cauliflower ear. Picture credit: Newaza Apparel, October 2013
Cauliflower ear typically occurs once blunt trauma affect the ear. The trauma leader to a series of little blood clots that block blood flow, leading to tissue damage. Sometimes, the injury pulls the cartilage far from the skin.

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However, the problem can additionally occur because of an ear infection, specifically those brought about by piercings in the upper part of the ear. Approximately 35 percent that piercings result in complications. In numerous cases, these complications will certainly be minor, however in some, they can lead to an ext serious issues.

In both cases, tissue damage can be fairly minor, leading to scar tissue. In others, the cartilage may die as it is starved of crucial nutrients. The ear climate folds over due to the fact that it lacks the support supplied by the cartilage.

Risk factors

Any sports that can involve blunt-force trauma raises the risk of a cauliflower ear. This sports encompass martial arts, boxing, rugby, and wrestling. Often, a cauliflower ear is the an outcome of repeated results to the next of the head. These results may be from a fist, a shoulder, or repeated contact with the ground (such as throughout a wrestles match).

In addition, fights have the right to also an outcome in comparable injuries, as can crashes where the next of the head is injured. These crashes may incorporate cycling accidents in which someone is not wearing a helmet, and also vehicle accidents.

Other risk factors include piercings to the top ear in particular. Because these piercings penetrate the ear and also can be hard to save clean, the risk of epidemic increases.

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Such infections can cause the cartilage come separate, resulting in additional complications. Of specific concern is the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, follow to a study published in the Brazilian newspaper of Otorhinolaryngology.

In part cases, major symptoms may occur. This include:

ringing in the earsevere bleedingblurred visionfacial swelling

Seek medical attention instantly for a hematoma, i beg your pardon is a big collection of blood outside of the blood vessels. The earlier a hematoma is treated, the much less likely the is the it will development to a cauliflower ear.

after a few days, the pain and swelling typically subside. Left untreated, the ear remains lumpy and the swelling slowly hardens end the course of 7 come 10 days. This can develop a permanent readjust to the ear’s appearance. In some cases, the ear may flop over as the cartilage dies.

early stage treatment can prevent a cauliflower ear native forming. Ice cream packs come the ear for about 15-minute stretches numerous times per day may help to mitigate swelling.

fast removal of liquid by a medical experienced reduces the likelihood of coagulation forming. The liquid is generally drained making use of a wide-bore needle in a procedure called aspiration. This liquid may save on computer the blood clots, avoiding further blockages.

The injury requires consistent compression to stop it from filling up with liquid again. Compression also keeps the skin close come the cartilage so the it does not rip out additional blood vessels. Human being should rest from training and other cases where blunt-force trauma is most likely to reoccur.

In cases where an easy draining is not sufficient, a surgeon may suture a temporary drainpipe onto the ear. This might not be useful for those who play sports professionally, together they have to keep the drain clean to prevent infection. Because that most, however, this method is likely to it is in fine.

An alternative to the classic compression bandage involves silicone molds. One mold fits in the ear, just like a timeless hearing aid, and another fits behind the ear. Together, they use compression come the injury.

Those participating in sports have the right to wear this molds under your headgear in bespeak to mitigate the risk of more injury. A situation study in the British newspaper of sports Medicine explained this therapy as prospering after a player v a newly arisen cauliflower ear wore these molds because that 10 days. The authors also noted that a feet in the in-ear mold would aid hearing. Due to the fact that this is a new kind of treatment, no irreversible studies regarding its efficiency are available.

If a cauliflower ear is not treated quickly, there is potential because that it to become permanent. The liquid that builds up hardens in ~ 7 come 10 days, causing the cartilage to thicken and harden. After the occurs, the problem requires surgical treatment to regain the ear.

Corrective surgical treatment is dubbed otoplasty. If that is completed in ~ 30 work of the initial clot and formation, it involves cutting out the newly formed scar tissue and stitching the wound up. This generally takes place under regional anesthetic and also requires the patience to stay a headband because that a few days complying with the surgery. Civilization can commonly resume contact sports 12 weeks after the operation.

In instances where the cartilage has actually hardened and also the scar tissue has resolved in, the surgeon need to reconstruct the ear cartilage, particularly when the cartilage has actually died. This surgery frequently takes longer and also has a much longer recovery time, together it deserve to involve taking cartilage from the ribs to reconstruct the ear.

avoiding a cauliflower ear typically method avoiding sports where multiple results to the side of the head are likely. Participants in these sports may select to undertake helmets wherein possible, to reduce the affect of blows to the ear.

A well-fitting helmet is crucial. One the is too loose can an outcome in shifting, perhaps making the trouble worse. A loose helmet can likewise fall off at inopportune moments. Part rugby players wear a band about the ears, but their performance is debatable.

In some sports, such together in high-level boxing and also wrestling, this is no possible. Because that these sports, fast treatment the blunt-force trauma come the ear have the right to prevent a cauliflower ear from forming.


Untreated, a cauliflower ear is usually harmless. Those that leave the untreated generally do not endure ill effects.

However, one preliminary study released in the Asian journal of sporting activities Medicine verified that wrestlers with cauliflower ear are more likely to suffer from hear loss. This, the authors suggested, could be due to the fact that of the threat of infection is better or because the swelling physically block the ears.

Cauliflower ear can reason practical issues, such as challenge wearing headphones and also problems v wax removal indigenous the ear. Consequently, those through a cauliflower ear might experience much more ear infections than others.

once treated quickly, a cauliflower ear can be cured. This procedure often take away a pair of days. The longer the cauliflower ear is left to develop, the much longer it takes come resolve, and it might require reconstructive surgery if left too long.