A lumpy bumpy appearance on the exterior of the ear looking similar to a cauliflower. This is because the cartilage, which actually shapes the ear, has become damaged. It is very common in rugby players, wrestlers and boxers.
CAULIFLOWER EAR SYMPTOMS
The ear will be swollen and painful and there may be slight deafness.
CAUSE OF CAULIFLOWER EAR
Repeatedly being hit on the ear. The ear has to be hit hard enough to cause blood to clot under the skin, which blocks the blood flow to the cartilage, or, another cause is when the skin comes away from the cartilage which relies on the covering skin for oxygen and nutrients from the blood flow. In either case if the ear isn’t treated quickly the cartilage will die and shrivel which gives the cauliflower appearance.
TREATMENT OF CAULIFLOWER EAR
For treatment to be successful, the ear needs immediate attention. The accumulation of blood and fluid needs draining straight away which a doctor will do by making a small incision. This will allow the blood to flow through the damaged area again. Stitches are required and anti biotic’s are given to prevent any infection. It is also important to seek treatment as the ear drum could be injured. Plastic surgery is sometimes undertaken depending on the circumstances of the individual.
RECOVERY OF CAULIFLOWER
If the ear receives treatment early enough the patient will not have cauliflower ear. After 10 days the doctor will reassess the ear and perhaps apply a new dressing.
PREVENTION OF CAULIFLOWER EAR
It is important to wear protective headgear or at least a bandage secured with tape to cover the ears.