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Cauliflower Ear or Hematoma Auris : Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

What is Cauliflower Ear or Hematoma Auris?

Cauliflower ear which is also known as boxer’s ear or hematoma auris or wrestler’s ear is a condition where there is deformity of the outer ear, caused due to a direct blow to the ears or due to repeated friction or due to an injury or a blunt trauma to the ear.

Causes of Cauliflower Ear or Hematoma Auris

It commonly occurs in those individuals who play contact sports without using head protection such as wrestling, rugby, martial arts and boxing. When there is trauma to the ear, the cartilage of the ear becomes inflamed disrupting the blood supply to the skin. This results in formation of a large blood pocket known as hematoma. When the injury starts to heal, the skin may shrivel up and fold over on itself. It acquires a pale color due to decreased blood supply, which gives it a cauliflower-like appearance, thus the term “cauliflower ear.”

Cauliflower Ear or Hematoma Auris

Cartilage damage may also occur because of piercing of the upper ear in the cartilage region. This may lead to infection of the ear cartilage called auricular perichondritis. Auricular perichondritis can also result in Cauliflower Ear. Relapsing polychondritis is another condition causing Cauliflower Ear.

Symptoms of Cauliflower Ear or Hematoma Auris

  • Pain in the ear.
  • Swelling in the ear.
  • Bruising may also be present.
  • The outer ear and its curvature appear deformed.
  • In severe cases, there may be a loss of hearing with tinnitus.
  • Severe symptoms requiring instant medical attention are: blurred vision, headache and facial swelling.

Treatment of Cauliflower Ear or Hematoma Auris

  • Ice therapy or other forms of cold therapy.
  • Antiinflammatories medicines such as ibuprofen and naproxen help in decreasing pain, inflammation and swelling.
  • For draining the hematoma, an incision is made in the skin of the ear and the blood is drained.
  • A compressive dressing is applied.
  • The physician may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection.
  • In severe cases, if the patient is suffering from hearing loss and tinnitus, then the patient should be referred to an ENT specialist.
  • To prevent cauliflower ear, helmets, and other protective headgear should be worn when playing contact sports or other types of rigorous sports.


  1. Mayo Clinic: “Cauliflower ear – Symptoms and causes” (Link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cauliflower-ear/symptoms-causes/syc-20484507)
  2. American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery: “Cauliflower Ear” (Link: https://www.enthealth.org/conditions/cauliflower-ear/)
  3. Medscape: “Auricular Hematoma (Cauliflower Ear) Treatment & Management” (Link: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2000011-treatment)
  4. WebMD: “Understanding Swimmer’s Ear – Symptoms” (Link: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/understanding-swimmers-ear-symptoms)
  5. Healthline: “Cauliflower Ear (Hematoma Auris): Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments” (Link: https://www.healthline.com/health/cauliflower-ear)
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 19, 2023

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