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External Ear Chondritis/abscess

External Ear Chondritis/abscess is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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Inflammation and/or infection of the pinna


  • Mechanism:
    • Cartilage of the external ear is easily damaged due to:
      • Lack of overlying subcutaneous tissue
      • Relative avascularity
      • Exposed position
    • Chondritis:
      • Most commonly a secondary complication of otic trauma and burns
      • Onset is often insidious and may be delayed until apparent healing has occurred.
  • Improper management may cause disfiguration of the pinna secondary to cartilage avascular necrosis:
    • Ranges from being a shriveled, cauliflower-like ear to complete loss of the external ear and possible stenosis of the auditory meatus.
  • Causes:
    • Common causes of chondritis include:
      • Chemical or thermal burns
      • Frostbite
      • Hematoma formation
      • Trauma
      • Human/insect bites
      • Deep abrasions
      • External otitis
      • High piercing of the ear lobe especially with poor technique, hygiene, and aftercare.
    • Bacteria involved:
      • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
      • Staphylococcus
      • Proteus

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Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "External Ear Chondritis/abscess." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307631/all/External_Ear_Chondritis_abscess.
External Ear Chondritis/abscess. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307631/all/External_Ear_Chondritis_abscess. Accessed April 24, 2019.
External Ear Chondritis/abscess. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307631/all/External_Ear_Chondritis_abscess
External Ear Chondritis/abscess [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 24]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307631/all/External_Ear_Chondritis_abscess.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - External Ear Chondritis/abscess ID - 307631 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307631/all/External_Ear_Chondritis_abscess PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -