Ear & Hearing

About Pseudocyst Of The Ear and Cauliflower Ear

Pseudocyst of the ear is a fairly common condition. A swelling of the auricle of the ear develops over a few days. It is often preceded by trauma to the ear but sometimes occurs spontaneously. The swelling is due to accumulation of fluid from the tissues filling the space between the cartilage of the ear and the roof of the pseudocyst, which consists of the lining of the cartilage (known as the perichondrium).

A pseudocysts distort the shape and contour of the ear. Over time, the roof of the cyst hardens with new cartilage formation causing the changes to become permanent. More importantly, infection may take hold in the pseudocyst and spread to the cartilage of the ear; this may lead to destruction of cartilage. The loss of the normal 3-dimensional shape of the ear and the severe aesthetic deformity that results is known as “cauliflower” ear, because of the similarity to the appearance of cauliflower in the most severe cases. For this reason, pseudocysts need to be treated appropriately to avoid this devastating complication.