How common is cauliflower ear?

Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
Although rare, the cauliflower ear is the direct result of a hematoma (blood collection under pressure) usually associated with trauma. Normally blows to the external ears creates blood clots that causes pressure to the perichondrium separating it from the cartilage. Fibrous tissue forms and the ear becomes swollen, scarred and deformed. This is frequently seen in boxers and wrestlers that have continued blows to the ears. Wearing protective headgear may prevent hematoma induced pressure necrosis to the underlying cartilage leading to the cauliflower deformity.

It is unknown how many people have cauliflower ear. However, this malformation usually affects athletes. Boxers, wrestlers, and rugby players are likely to suffer the repeated blows to the ear that commonly cause cauliflower ear.

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