Cauliflower ear or hematoma auris or perichondrial hematoma is a condition most common among wrestlers, rugby players, mixed martial artists, and 1920s boxers. If the external portion of the ear suffers a blow, a blood clot or other fluid may collect under the perichondrium. This separates the cartilage from the overlying perichondrium that is its source of nutrients, causing the cartilage to die. When this happens, the outer ear becomes permanently swollen and deformed, thus resembling a Cauliflower.
Headgear that protects the ears is worn in wrestling, many martial arts and other contact sports to help prevent this condition.
When fluid collection in the outer ear occurs, it is important to contact a doctor immediately and have it treated. The doctor will evacuate the fluid and apply a compressing tie to the outer ear to reconnect the perichondrium and the cartilage. The compressing tie must be left in place for some time, generally 10 days, to prevent the fluid from building up again. The outer ear is prone to infections, so antibiotics are usually prescribed. If the pressure is left alone without medical intervention, the ear can suffer very serious damage. Pressure can build up and eventually rupture the ear drum. When this occurs, the ear may further wrinkle, and can become slightly pale; hence the common term 'Cauliflower Ear'. Should the ear drum rupture, the only treatment option is to heal the existing wound with stiches. Even with treatment, significant hearing loss may occur. Today, cosmetic procedures are available which can greatly improve the appearance of the ear, even though internal damage will persist.
Ear Nose and Throat
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