A cauliflower ear is a permanent deformity in the shape of the outer ear. Generally, it is brought about by injuries.
It starts as buildup of blood amidst the skin of the ear and inner cartilage after sustaining an injury. The accumulation of blood or hematoma often arises after being struck in the ear.
Injuries are likely to occur in sports such as boxing, wrestling and rugby. In case the hematoma is not correctly cared for, it might develop into scar tissue that will later appear similar as a cauliflower.
What are the indications?
In most cases, the hematoma can be quite sore and inflamed initially, but the discomfort eventually settles in a few weeks.
Management of cauliflower ear
If the individual has a freshly formed hematoma, it requires drainage by a doctor. When the hematoma has been drained, it often fills up with more fluid. The buildup of fluid can be prevented by placing a specialized dressing that places pressure on the damaged area.
A small-sized cast might be placed on the ear or a special dressing can be attached to prevent the fluid from accumulating again. The doctor will also provide antibiotics to lower the risk for infection.
In case the fluid is properly drained and does not buildup again, the skin is attached back to the ear cartilage to prevent the formation of scar tissue and deformity.
Protective head gear must be used during contact sports. This is the ideal way to prevent injuries to the ear. Additionally, immediate and correct drainage as well as compression of the hematoma are vital in preventing cauliflower ear.