Auricular Hematomas

Auricular Hematomas

Steven K. Poon, MD, CAQSM

Kimberly G. Harmon, MD



  • Auricular hematoma is an injury caused by trauma or friction of the ear that often occurs in contact sports such as wrestling, rugby, boxing, and judo.

  • Trauma or continuous friction to the auricle leads to bleeding into the soft tissues of the ear.

  • Bleeding often occurs anteriorly at the junction of the perichondrium and elastic cartilage of the ear.

  • Recognition of this condition as a result of trauma led to the development of treatments during the latter half of the 20th century.



Most injuries occur while engaged in combat sports such as wrestling while not wearing protective headgear.


Studies estimate ear injuries account for up to 23.4% of all reported wrestling related injuries.


  • The condition is caused by trauma owing to a direct blow or frictional forces to the auricle.

  • Bleeding into the auricle, specifically between the skin and auricular cartilage, results in a hematoma in this space.

  • Untreated, the hematoma can cause pressure, necrosis, and scarring of the auricular cartilage leading to a “cauliflower ear,” which is the name given to the characteristic deformity to the ear:

    • Neocartilage formation at the site of the clot also plays a role in the associated deformity.

    • This deformity is disfiguring and permanent.


Failure to wear headgear while participating in sports such as wresting, rugby, or martial arts disciplines such as judo may increase the risk of ear trauma.


  • Auricle laceration

  • Rupture of tympanic membrane owing to associated trauma

  • Concussions related to head trauma

  • Cellulitis and perichondritis may mimic or be associated with this disorder.

Mar 14, 2020 | Posted by in SPORT MEDICINE | Comments Off on Auricular Hematomas
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