Cauliflower Ear is a disease that happens to an individual due to suffering a hit or frequent hit injuries to the external ear leading to a blood clot formation beneath the perichondrium.
As an aftermath, the cartilage is isolated from the perichondrium. The perichondrium, which is a feeder of nutrients to the cartilage dies resulting in the development of fibrous tissue in the overlying skin. Ultimately, a swollen look is notable on the outer ear and it looks like a cauliflower.
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Cauliflower Ear in Humans
Literally speaking, the term cauliflower ears signify an ear deformity caused because of some pain in the ears caused by an injury. The terms Cauliflower ears and perichondrial hematoma disease are similar.
Perichondrial hematoma refers to the swelling in the ear that arises because of a blood clot. Most commonly, people with cauliflower ears are professional fighters like boxers, martial artists and wrestlers.
If this disorder is kept untreated, the injury could result in a blockage that will not allow free blood flow and also damage the tissue. The ear will become lumpy like that of a cauliflower. So, it is necessary to take treatment at the initial stage itself to avoid the risk of permanent ear/s deformity and hearing loss.
Cauliflower Ear Symptoms
The initial stage symptoms for a person with the cauliflower ears disease are:
- Pain in the affected ear or ears
- Bruising of the ear/ears
- Deformation at the curvature of the ear
Persons in the final or massive stage of this disease undergo symptoms like:
- Hearing problem
- Tinnitus or ear ringing
- Profuse bleeding
- Swollen face
- Dimmed vision
Cauliflower Ear Causes
- Cauliflower ears disease is mainly caused due to a hit injury/injuries to the ear resulting in the formation of hematomas, which means the collection of blood outside a blood vessel that results in clotting and blocking the blood flow.
- Removing the skin from the cartilage also results in the formation of the hematoma. Cartilage is the important hard tissue that is responsible for making the ears get its shape.
- Humans can have ears that look like a cauliflower if they suffer an infection in the earlobe.
- Cartilage damage can also happen to the ears of an individual because of piercing in the inner upper area of their ear. This can result in the formation of an infection of the cartilage.
- In medical terminology, this situation is called as auricular perichondritis. The end result of such infection formation in the ear makes the ears appear like that of a cauliflower.
- Rarely, cauliflower ears may happen because of an inflammation in the cartilage which leads to relapse of polychondritis.
- It is noted that even head injuries can be a causal factor for cauliflower ears.
Cauliflower Ear Treatments
People affected with Cauliflower ears can be treated by medications or surgery, depending on the level of the disease. While giving treatment for cauliflowers ears, the major focus is placed on never allowing the cartilage to become irreparably damaged.
To achieve this, blood draining process is done from the hematoma.
Cauliflower ears and its treatment constitute the following methods:
- As a firsthand treatment, icing the injury within the quickest time possible is the wise thing to do. Applying ice on the injured area after every 15-minute intervals will decrease the swelling.
- Once an affected person visits the doctor, the latter could and mostly involve in swiftly removing the accumulated fluid. This step will be useful in lowering the possibility of formation of clots in the ear
- For people with mild to moderate cauliflower ears conditions, antibiotics are given by the doctors to prevent more infections. Compression dressing on the ear could also be done by a doctor.
- This assures that the injury will heal and restore the normal shape of that individual affected by cauliflower ears.
- An affected individual must not involve in activities that could increase problems to his/her ear while undergoing the treatment process for healing. The patient must place utmost care in ensuring that the ear/s completely heals.
- It is advisable to consult the doctor about what is best to do. Surely, patients must always keep in mind that despite the draining process carried out by a doctor, cauliflower ears can relapse if swelling occurs in the ear.
- In severe cases, a doctor could refer to an ENT surgeon for surgical treatment. Cosmetic ear surgery called otoplasty could be conducted on the patient to restore the normal ear shape.
- The doctor, at the time of surgery, could give an incision behind the affected patient’s ear to expose the cartilage. After this, the doctor would either perform a partial excision of the cartilage or change the ear’s shape through applying stitches.
- The patients will be able to do their normal course of activities in the next six weeks. However, it might be rarely advocated by the doctor for some patients to even wait some time more.
Cauliflower Ear Prevention
- Wearing a suitable protective headgear – A crucial point for sportspeople like boxers, wrestlers, rugby and other sports where there is close contact between the players.
- Knowledge about the importance of seeking instant medical attention – This is a basic requirement for the sports players and related professionals like coaches.
- Consulting a doctor when there is a pain in the ears – If the there is a feeling of pain in the ear, a person must immediately consult the doctor to prevent the probable emergence of cauliflower ears.