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The normal ear is quite an essential and delicate organ of the human body. Before we begin our study about “What is Cauliflower Ear?”, start recalling an athlete’s ear!
Have you ever examined a wrestler’s ear while attending a wrestling match on the field or watching it online? There is something unique about a few of the wrestler’s ears. The unique feature is the acquired defect in a human’s outer ear cartilage– The Cauliflower Ear.
Here we will briefly study the symptoms, causes, risk factors, prevention, and treatment for cauliflower ear. So, gear up to adventure the trauma of Cauliflower ear!
What is Cauliflower Ear?
The term “Cauliflower ear” relates to the deformity in the human’s outer ear, perhaps by blunt trauma to the ear cartilage or some ear injury during martial arts. Whenever a wrestler is hit or injured by direct trauma, the blood flow accumulates in the ear lobe, i.e., the lower portion of the outer ear. This disturbs the blood supply.
As a result of the accumulation of blood in the blood vessels, the term “Cauliflower ear” is called a perichondrial hematoma.
Also, when the outer ear cures, it dries and gets folded. The ear appears dull, light in color, and cauliflower-like appearance. Hence, it is named the Cauliflower ear.
Cauliflower Ear Risks Whom?
The rising incidence of trauma to the ear makes anyone fall at risk of infection to the cauliflower ear. In sports like wrestling, MMA, mixed martial arts, and boxing, factors of deformity are common.
Hence, protective headgear is a must.
Do You Know What Causes Cauliflower Ear?
The cause of cauliflower ear is quick. The delicate organ, the ear, is sensitive to blunt trauma. The outer ear is formed of cartilage, a flexible tissue.
When the ear injury occurs, the blood clots and pools between the auricular hematoma and the cartilage, sometimes, the blood gets supplied to the ear cartilage and causes the cartilage to tear.
The perichondrium is a connective tissue covering the cartilage. Its primary purpose is to supply blood and fibers to the ear cartilage. The ear cartilage becomes devoid of nourishment whenever the blood flow stops and is left untreated. It not only contributes to disease but also cartilage death.
Once the ear swelling occurs, new fibrous tissue clusters around the swelled area of the underlying cartilage. Then the possibility of a developing cauliflower ear occurs.
Here’s a video explaining in simple steps the cause of cauliflower ear:
Cauliflower Ear-5 Odd Symptoms of Outer Ear Trauma
The symptoms of direct trauma pivot around the rigidity of the ear caused due to injuries or severe cases.
Do you hear noises or any ringing in your ears without external damage?
The experience caused is Tinnitus, a common problem. Having Tinnitus makes you experience stress, memory loss, fatigue, and pain.
Learn more about its symptoms and causes here!
The major symptom of headaches is pain in the head or face.
This can be throbbing, sharp, dull, or constant. We can recover from headaches with proper medicines, stress relief care, and meditation.
3. Facial Swelling
Facial swelling, known as facial edema, is a sign of anaphylaxis.
Swelling occurs not only on the face but also on the neck and throat. A swollen face due to allergies may lead to nasal congestion, dizziness, itching, and watery eyes.
Read about the daily Do’s of Dermatology.
4. Deformity of the Curvature of the Ear
Outer ear deformity may be diagnosed in a person from birth.
Individuals with minute and mild ear deformities require no treatment. In severe cases of ear trauma, surgical and non-surgical treatment of cauliflower ear is essential. This will cure in restoring the structure and hearing of the ear.
5. Hearing Loss
The loss of hearing tests a person’s quality of life. The inability to listen may be bestowed in young babies during birth or may be acquired later phase as you age. And the most common cause is the series of depression.
Here is a detailed view of the deformity by Mayo Clinic.
Also, bruising, blurred vision, and pain are a few common symptoms of cauliflower ear.
Thus, early treatment should be practiced if the deformity of the existing cauliflower ear is severe. As a result, if there is no cure, the current cauliflower ear will be a permanent deformity forever!
The Cauliflower Ear Needs Proper Care. What Treatment does it Follow?
1. Starting with the Initial treatment
- As soon as the injury develops, cover it with ice.
- Keep applying the ice for 10- 15 minutes.
- This procedure may help reduce swelling. Subsequently, cauliflower ear may be prevented.
- If the injury is severe, the best recipe is doctor’s care!
2. The Leakage and Compression Treatment of Doctors
Doctors try to extract blood supply from the ear to normalize the condition. By preparing a cut on the injured area, the blood supply drains and stops.
After blood flow, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics and sports medicine to avert the infection.
One should avoid trauma-causing activities till the ear is recovered. Also, before resuming to normal daily lifestyle, consider consulting the doctor again!
The cauliflower ear may reappear! Hence, it is necessary to pamper your swelled ear even though the blood flow is drained.
3. End the Treatment with a Surgery
We know the Cauliflower ear is a permanent deformity! But in some situations, the appearance of cauliflower ear may be treated using such surgery as otoplasty. Do you know what otoplasty is?
To prevent cauliflower ear, usually, doctors suggest an anesthetic. Amidst surgery, to uncover the ear cartilage, the doctors do surgery. They pull out the ear cartilage. Also, do some stitches to modify the scar tissue of the ear.
You should be able to resume physical activities within six weeks, though your doctor may recommend waiting longer.
Subsequently, within 5-6 weeks, you can re-begin with your workout and physical body movement.
Cauliflower Ear- Prevention is Better than Cure!
Is there a hope of preventing cauliflower ear? No wonder the best prevention is avoiding direct trauma in the first place!
However, consider wearing protective headgear and a helmet to prevent cauliflower ear for sports.
Being aware of repeated hits is one of the important steps! Early identification and management of the hematoma before cartilage death is the best possible outcome.
Takeaway- Healthy Ears!
Pulling out ears for fun or teasing any abnormal ear structure lowers a person’s self-esteem!
As stated earlier, the Outer ear is the most delicate overlying skin in the human body whether a wrestler or a normal human, proper ear care is a must.
Hence, prevent infections from preventing cauliflower ear.
Also, do you know what a Blood Blister is? Let’s have an overview of it!