How to Drain Cauliflower Ear

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Cauliflower ear is caused by severe bruising of the cartilage in the ear and sometimes can cause permanent damage. Have your cauliflower ear looked at by a specialist with the advice of a practicing pediatrician in this free video on ear care.

Part of the Video Series: Ear Care & Treatments
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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Dr. David Hill and today we're going to talk about how to drain cauliflower ear. Now cauliflower ear is actually a bruise of the external ear itself. We call this part of the ear the Penna and it's the part that directs sound toward the external auditory canal and the eardrum where it can be perceived. If you get a blow or a strike to this area of the ear it can cause severe bruising and swelling. Now the external ear is completely made of cartilage, it is filled, that's why you can move it around because that's soft. It's not bone and overlying that cartilage is some skin and a little bit of connective tissue. If blood collects there, it can lead to a deformity of the ear. This is the old cauliflower ear. That unfortunately has the potential to lead to permanent deformities. If there is scarring, if the blood isn't drained properly, if it is not repaired properly. So if you know of someone who has a cauliflower ear or if you get a cauliflower ear, you don't want to ignore that and leave it alone. You really do want to address it with your physician. Now depending on where the bruising is, how bad it is, they may leave it alone. They may decide to drain it but an experienced physician, an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist or even a plastic surgeon in some cases should be the person to examine that ear and decide what to do. Often after the drainage they need to use some sort of packing to hold the skin down against the cartilage of the ear so that it heels properly and there is no loose skin or compartments left in there. So cauliflower ear, a serious bruise or blood collection of the outer ear, the Penna, caused by trauma, don't leave it alone. Make sure that you take it to an appropriate physician who can assess it and see if it needs to be drained and dealt with in some way to prevent permanent disfigurement. Talking about draining cauliflower ear, I'm Dr. David Hill.

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