Cauliflower Ear (Guide and How to Prevent)

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If you’re an athlete, then you’re probably familiar with cauliflower ear. It’s that nasty looking condition that can occur when there’s trauma to the ear, causing a blood clot and swelling. While it may not be pretty, cauliflower ear is nothing to worry about and can be easily prevented. In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about cauliflower ear and how to prevent it. Stay safe and hydrated out there!

Note: none of this is meant as medical advice. Always seek professional medical advice.

What cauliflower ear is and what causes it

Cauliflower ear is a condition that occurs when there is blunt trauma to the ear, resulting in a blood clot and swelling. The most common cause of cauliflower ear is from a blow to the head or ear, which can happen during contact sports such as wrestling, boxing, or football. Earrings can also contribute to the development of cauliflower ear if they are constantly being pulled on or off.

The trauma to the ear causes the cartilage to separate from the overlying skin, which then allows fluid to build up and form a blood clot. The pressure from the fluid and blood clot causes the cartilage to collapse, resulting in the characteristic deformity known as cauliflower ear.

Cauliflower ear is not only unsightly, but it can also lead to long-term problems if left untreated. The deformity can cause the ear to become stiff and difficult to move, which can make it difficult to hear. In severe cases, cauliflower ear can even result in permanent damage to the structures of the ear.

Fortunately, cauliflower ear is relatively easy to prevent. If you play a contact sport or participate in activities where your ears are at risk, it’s important to wear protective headgear that can prevent trauma from occurring. When taking off or putting on earrings, be sure to take extra care and avoid pulling on them too much. And no matter what type of sport you play, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Leslie Smith’s cauliflower ear exploded after she was struck directly in the face by Jessica Eye in 2014. Smith had previously sustained a cauliflower ear that was periodically drained of fluid, and before the fight it was full with blood. The severe blow caused her cauliflower ear to burst and bleed considerably.

How to prevent cauliflower ear from happening

There are a few key things that you can do to prevent cauliflower ear from occurring. The most important thing is to wear protective headgear during any type of contact sport or activity where your ears are at risk of being hit. Make sure that the headgear fits properly and is secured in place, so that it can provide adequate protection against trauma.

When putting on or taking off earrings, be sure to take extra care and avoid pulling on them too much. This can help prevent trauma to the ears that can lead to cauliflower ear.

Finally, it’s important to stay hydrated during any type of physical activity by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This can help keep your body healthy and prevent injuries, including cauliflower ear.

The signs and symptoms of cauliflower ear

Cauliflower ear typically develops within a few days of the initial trauma to the ear. The most common symptom is pain in the affected ear, which can range from mild to severe. Other symptoms may include:

  • Swelling in the affected ear
  • Redness or bruising in the affected ear
  • A feeling of fullness or pressure in the affected ear
  • A decrease in hearing in the affected ear

If you experience any of these symptoms after trauma to your ear, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Cauliflower ear is usually diagnosed based on a physical examination and medical history. Your doctor may also order imaging tests, such as an MRI or CT scan, to help determine the extent of any damage to the ear.

While there is no specific treatment for cauliflower ear, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible so that you can receive prompt medical care and reduce your risk of complications. Treatment may involve draining excess fluid from the ear and applying pressure or wearing a special headband to keep

Treating cauliflower ear

The goals of therapy are to decrease the risk of long-term harm to the cartilage, by draining blood from the hematoma and treating any infection. To avoid infection, antibiotics may be used. Inflammation reduction is also critical for reestablishing the connection between the skin and underlying cartilage.

People with cauliflower ear may need to see an otolaryngologist or a plastic surgeon. The doctor will make a small cut in the ear and remove the blood that has built up. They will then put a bandage on the ear to keep it compressed so it can heal properly.

It is not an easy fix

Cauliflower ear surgery is more difficult and complex than standard otoplasty surgery. There is a risk that an inexperienced surgeon might make the problem worse, in addition to the damage that has already occurred. It is critical to find a qualified otoplasty surgeon with a proven track record repairing cauliflower ear to ensure optimal outcomes.

How much does cauliflower ear cost to repair?

The cost of cauliflower ear repair varies depending on a number of factors, including where you live, your insurance coverage, and whether your surgeon uses an in-hospital or outpatient facility. On average, cauliflower ear treatment costs around $2,500 – $7,000. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are non-surgical treatment options that may be more affordable. To learn more about the cost of cauliflower ear repair and find out what your best options are, talk to your doctor today.

If you are involved in any type of contact sport or activity where there is a risk of trauma to the ears, it is important to take steps to prevent cauliflower ear from occurring. This may include wearing protective headgear during training or play, taking extra care when putting on or removing earrings, and staying well hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. If you do experience any symptoms such as pain, swelling, redness, bruising, or a decrease in hearing after an injury to your ears, it is important to seek medical attention

Recovery time for cauliflower ear

Recovery depends on the extent of the damage and how the ear is repaired. Typically, patients will need to wear a headband or headwrap for several weeks after surgery to ensure proper healing and prevent complications like re-rupturing the hematoma. For this reason, many people find it helpful to take time off work during recovery so that they can focus on their health and avoid any additional stress.

Can cauliflower ear go away on its own?

While cauliflower ear can often be treated with surgery, in some cases it may go away on its own. This is rare but possible, especially if there are no underlying skin or cartilage problems that need to be addressed. If your ear does not heal within a few weeks, however, you should seek medical care to ensure that treatment doesn’t become necessary.

It’s important to remember that cauliflower ear is a serious condition and can cause permanent damage if left untreated. To reduce your risk of complications and ensure the best possible results from surgery, talk to your doctor today about getting the care you need for your cauliflower ear.

FAQ

What is the difference between acute cauliflower ear and chronic?

The main difference between acute and chronic cauliflower ear is the cause of the condition. Acute cauliflower ear occurs by an injury to the outer ear, while chronic cauliflower ear is typically caused by a buildup of fluid in the middle ear. Both conditions can lead to permanent damage of the ear cartilage if left untreated. Treatment for both conditions typically includes antibiotics and surgery.

What else is cauliflower ear called?

Cauliflower ear is sometimes called wrestler’s ear and auricular hematoma.

Final thoughts on cauliflower ear

If you fear you might have cauliflower ear or have had a traumatic experience to your ears and believe that you may be experiencing symptoms of this disease, seeing a physician as soon as possible is critical. The possibility of complications can be reduced if the condition is treated promptly and care is given. You can achieve a full recovery without permanent damage if the infection is treated correctly and immediately. Talk to your doctor about cauliflower ear now to learn more about what your best treatment choices are.

Sources

  1. https://www.williamsfacialsurgery.com/blog/repairing-cauliflower-ear
  2. https://www.medicinenet.com/cauliflower_ear/article.htm
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470424/
  4. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/cauliflower-ear-symptoms-causes-treatments

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Origin Fighter is a blog for athletes and fitness enthusiasts to learn about Jiu-Jitsu, MMA, Wrestling, Boxing, Health & Nutrition, Performance and more. Origin Fighter also provides information on how to train smarter with resources such as workout plans and diets tailored for your goals.

About the Author

I am a huge fan of both BJJ and MMA. Jiu-jitsu is my biggest passion, and I’ve been training it for more than 5 years. I have recently been promoted to a purple belt. In this blog, I will be giving you tips on how to improve and how to choose the best BJJ equipment! Learn More