June 22, 2020

Ear, nose, and throat (ENT) complaints are commonly seen in the emergency department. When you hear “ENT emergencies,” you probably think about epistaxis, sinusitis, and possibly foreign body removal (either from the ear or nose). While not as common, auricular hematomas are equally important to both understand and know how to manage. As a former wrestler, I can attest to the importance of 1) knowing how to accurately diagnose and 2) how to treat this injury to prevent future development of “cauliflower ear”. An auricular hematoma is a collection of blood underneath the perichondrium of the ear that typically occurs secondary to trauma. Common mechanisms of injury include an ear-piercing gone wrong or blunt trauma in contact sports (wrestling, boxing, and martial arts). Inadequate treatment of an auricular hematoma can lead to the development of an auricular deformity commonly known as “cauliflower ear,” which develops from permanent cartilage destruction.
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