Dr. Emily Martinson, Au.D., Ph.D.

Like every male between the ages of 15 and 115, over the weekend my husband wanted to watch the boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.  This highly-publicized and promoted match did two things- reminded us all that there are people in the world that get paid $100 million to punch each other in the head, and was a good reminder of the dangers of the aforementioned head punches, including cauliflower ear.

You may have noticed that some boxers, professional fighters, and all-around tough guys and gals have swollen ears, making the skin on the ear appear almost flat.  This is a condition known as Cauliflower ear, and is permanent.  When the outer portion of the ear experiences trauma, such as a punch, blood inside the ear can develop a clot, and cause this swelling. If the blood is not released, the tissue in the ear will ultimately die.  The tissue then swells, and causes permanent changes to the shape and appearance of the outer ear.  This produces the appearance of cauliflower ear. Unfortunately, once the ear’s appearance is changed it cannot be changed back.  The most effective way to prevent cauliflower ear is to seek immediate medical attention if you experience trauma to the ear or head.

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