Cauliflower ear

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A cauliflower ear is defined as an ear deformity brought about by trauma. It occurs once blood accumulates in the pinna or outer ear after being struck. The buildup of blood must be treated promptly.

What are the signs?

If the individual sustained an ear injury or struck on the side of the head, the outer ear must be checked for swelling or bruising.

There is also a change in the form of the ear. As blood starts to build up around the site of injury, fresh supply of blood to the ear cartilage is disrupted.

In case the injury is left untreated, the condition can lead to:

Cauliflower ear
If the individual sustained an ear injury or struck on the side of the head, the outer ear must be checked for swelling or bruising.
  • Headache
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Blurry vision
  • Hearing loss

Management of cauliflower ear

Initial care

The first measure is to apply an ice pack on the site of injury right away. Place an ice pack at 15-minute intervals to lessen the swelling and prevent the formation of cauliflower ear. It is vital to seek treatment right away.

Drainage and compression

The doctor might treat the condition by draining any excess blood from the ear. An incision is created at the site of injury to allow the blood to drain out.

After drainage, antibiotics are prescribed by the doctor to prevent an infection. A compression dressing is placed on the ear to ensure healing in the correct shape.

The individual must avoid activities that can result to further ear trauma until it is fully healed.

Remember that cauliflower ear tends to reoccur, thus it is vital to monitor the ear for swelling even if it has already been drained.

Surgical intervention

Always bear in mind that cauliflower ear is permanent but there are instances in which its appearance can be reversed with corrective surgery.


The ideal way to prevent cauliflower ear is to avoid trauma in the first place. Those who engage in high-risk sports such as wrestling must use protective equipment such as a helmet.

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