Cauliflower ear

Fact Checked

Cauliflower ear is also known as auricular hematoma in which the cartilage found in the outer ear is damaged. Boxers and wrestlers are more susceptible to this type of injury, but any blow to the ear can also cause damage and result to cauliflower ear.

Repeated trauma to the outer ear can injure the surrounding blood vessels which can result to internal leakage of blood. Blood will leak into the outer ear tissue and eventually form clots that will remove nutrients essential for the ear cartilage.

Close look on cauliflower ear

People with cauliflower ear usually have redness and pain around the affected area and when not properly treated a severe infection can develop. The accumulation of blood clots and pus disrupts the flow of blood and essential nutrients to the cartilage which will cause it to pull away from the skin and develop its distinctive cauliflower shape.

The buildup of pus between the skin and the cartilage occurs when the ear becomes infected. A cauliflower with a cut will lead to swelling and the wound becomes wider resulting to the leakage of pus from the ear.

Treatment

Cauliflower ear

Repeated trauma to the outer ear can injure the surrounding blood vessels which can result to internal leakage of blood.

  • Apply an ice pack immediately on the affected area after the injury in order to help lessen the inflammation on the ear. Wrap a few ice cubes in a towel before applying on the ear at 15-minute intervals and a 15-minute break in between until the swelling is minimized. Avoid applying ice directly on the skin in order to prevent frostbite.
  • Use a head wrap in order to compress the ear. Cover the ear using a fitted headband or gauze in order to maintain pressure on the site, stop the internal bleeding and also minimize the deformity of the affected ear. Avoid wrapping it too tightly in order to prevent a headache.
  • Disinfect the area of the ear. Use tea tree oil which has natural anti-bacterial and cleansing properties. Coat all the crevices of the ears both inside and outside. Use a new, unused and clean 23-gauze syringe to puncture the affected area in the center of the swelling. Draw out the thick, viscous blood inside the cauliflower ear using a 23-gauge, 1-inch and 3 ml syringe. Avoid pushing the needle too deep in order to prevent damage to the inner ear. Continue drawing out the liquid until the wounded area looks completely deflated. Immediately after removing the syringe in the area, disinfect the area using cotton ball soaked in tea tree oil. The skin will appear wrinkled, but eventually it will heal.

Additional measures

  • Wrap the affected area using a compression bandage in order to maintain pressure in the area, minimize bleeding and the risk of future swelling and complications.
  • Apply the prescribed antibacterial ointment on the puncture wound at least 3 times every day until the wound is completely healed.

If an infection has developed, it is vital to seek medical help right away.

FACT CHECK

https://www.healthline.com/health/cauliflower-ear

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cauliflower_ear

https://www.medicinenet.com/cauliflower_ear/article.htm

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  • All firstaidservices.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.