Medically the review by Alana Biggers, M.D., MPH, specialty in interior medicine — composed by Carrie Madormo — update on June 1, 2017

What is cauliflower ear?

If you’ve ever attended a wrestling match, girlfriend may have actually noticed other different around some of the athletes’ ears. Cauliflower ear, likewise known together perichondrial hematoma or wrestler’s ear, is a deformity that the ear resulted in by trauma.

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Cauliflower ear occurs as soon as blood pools in her pinna after ~ it’s to be hit or struck. The pinna is your outer ear. This pooling the blood, known as a hematoma, requirements to be treated right away.

While yes no therapy for cauliflower ear, it deserve to be prevented even after the trauma has actually occurred. So it’s crucial to understand the warning signs and take activity right away.


What room the symptoms?

If you’ve knowledgeable an ear injury or hit to the side of her head, check your outer ear in a winter for swelling or bruising. You may also an alert a adjust to the form of her ear. As blood begins to pool about the injured area, new blood supply to your ear cartilage is cut off.

Left untreated, cauliflower ear have the right to lead to:

ringing in her earhearing lossheadacheblurred vision

A study in the eastern Journal of sports Medicine uncovered that wrestlers v cauliflower ear were significantly much more likely to experience hearing loss than wrestlers there is no the condition. Cauliflower ear may likewise be connected with increased risk because that ear infections. Catching the start signs the cauliflower ear will defend you from other complications under the road, as well as assist prevent deformity of her ear.

What does cauliflower ear look like?


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What reasons cauliflower ear?
Cauliflower ear is the result of a straight trauma to your ear. Your external ear is consisted of of cartilage, not bone. If your ear is injured, the blood vessels the supple blood come the ear cartilage deserve to tear, causing blood to pool up in between the cartilage and the perichondrium. The perichondrium is the connective organization that surrounds the cartilage, and is essential for transport of blood and also nutrients come the cartilage.

Once the fresh blood it is provided is reduced off, her ear cartilage can’t acquire the fresh nutrients that it needs. This leads to infection and death the the tissue. Once that happens, brand-new fibrous organization can form around the area, developing a cauliflower texture on your ear.


that is in ~ risk?

Anyone that is at threat for trauma to your head and ears is at danger for cauliflower ear. According to board-certified plastic operated doctor Manish H. Shah, MD, FACS, “Risk components include dull trauma particularly when playing details sports such as boxing, MMA, water polo, and also wrestling, as well as the use of blood thinners.”


What is the treatment?

Initial treatment

Ice the injury as conveniently as possible. You have the right to do this by applying ice because that 15-minute intervals. That will help reduce the swelling and also may prevent cauliflower ear. Girlfriend should likewise seek clinical treatment best away.

Drainage and also compression

Your doctor may be able to treat the condition by draining the overabundance blood from your ear. They do this by making an scratch at the website of the injury so the the blood can drainpipe out of the injury.

After draining your ear, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to assist prevent infection. Your medical professional will likewise place a compression dressing on your ear to ensure the it heals in the correct shape.

You’ll have to avoid activities that might cause extr trauma to her ear until your ear is completely healed. Ask your doctor when you deserve to resume common activities. It’s crucial to follow their advice to improve your outcome.

Cauliflower ear deserve to reoccur, for this reason it’s essential to monitor her ear because that swelling even after it’s been drained.

If the swelling isn’t treated quickly enough, or if initial therapy is unsuccessful, “the cartilage will certainly then become thickened and scarred and also start to look choose the cauliflower vegetable, hence the term ‘cauliflower ear,’” says Dr. Nguyen Pham, pediatric otolaryngologist at children Hospital of Orange County.

Surgery

Cauliflower ear is permanent, but in part cases, girlfriend may be able to reverse the appearance utilizing corrective surgery, recognized as otoplasty.

During the surgery, your medical professional makes a cut behind her ear to disclose the cartilage. Your physician then either removes some of the cartilage or provides stitches come reshape your ear. You might need basic anesthetic because that the surgery, yet in some cases, a local anesthetic have the right to be used.

You should be able to resume physical activities within six weeks, though her doctor may recommend wait longer.


The finest prevention because that cauliflower ear is to prevent the trauma in the very first place. If you participate in high-risk sports, such as wrestling, undertake a helmet to safeguard yourself.

Protection is specifically important because that children. Look because that protective head gear that has ear guards, and make sure your child always wears this protective equipment when participating in call sports.

Make certain your child and also their coach understand the beforehand signs the cauliflower ear and the prestige of seeking immediate medical attention.

You should also talk to her doctor around the usage of blood thinners while participating in contact sports. Blood thinners can increase your threat for cauliflower ear, so avoiding the use of them prior to participating in a contact sport may help prevent this condition.

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Never avoid taking medicines your doctor has actually prescribed without first speaking come them.