The external ear is in an exposed and vulnerable position and many things can happen to it. Here is a detailed account of disorders of the pinna and external ear canal, and what can be done about them.
- Haematoma auris (cauliflower ear) occurs in boxers and rugby players. It requires drainage under aseptic conditions. Recurrence is common.
- Ear piercing along the antihelix may produce perichondritis, needing systemic antibiotics and removal of the foreign body.
- Syringing the ear can have serious hazards. There are a number of precautions to be taken.
- Objects in the ear may be difficult to remove, and referral may be required.
- Herpes zoster oticus presents first with pain. The vesicles occur days later and then there is usually a facial palsy.
- Malignant otitis externa is a severe, progressive infection that rapidly involves adjacent tissues. It occurs in elderly people with diabetes and in the immunocompromised.
- Swimmer’s exostoses may require surgical removal. Keeping water out may help.