A preauricular sinus or cyst a common congenital malformation resulting from a developmental defect of the first and second pharyngeal arches. It is estimated to occur in about 1-5% of the population. It can occur on one or both sides.
If a preauricular sinus starts to become symptomatic e.g discharge, swelling or infection, surgical excision may be advised.
The sinus needs to be completely excised from the surface of the skin down to its deepest part, which usually lies on the underlying cartilage. While a small, uncomplicated sinus can be excised under local anaesthesia through a small incision, those that are larger or that occur in children may require surgery under general anaesthesia.
The incision is designed so as to achieve the smallest and least noticeable post surgical scar. Post-operative healing is complete in 1-2 weeks.