Map of Toronto Location

Toronto Office
Dr. Richard Rival
501-1881 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M4S 3C4
Phone: (866) 229-3223
Outside Ontario: (905) 830-6711
Monday–Friday: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Map of Newmarket Location

Newmarket Office
Dr. Richard Rival
712 Davis Drive, Suite 101A
Newmarket, ON L3Y 8C3
Phone: (905) 830-6711
Outside Ontario: (905) 830-6711
Monday–Friday: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Can Cauliflower Ear Be Fixed?

cauliflower ear is associated with boxing or marital sports and is permanent without facial plastic surgery

Usually associated with sports like wrestling, boxing, and MMA, cauliflower ear is the result of repeated ear damage.  Leaving cauliflower ear untreated can lead to complications. What can you do to fix these complications?

What is Cauliflower Ear?

Cauliflower ear is a deformity on the outer ear resulting from blunt trauma. The ear cartilage separates, so it can no longer collect nutrients from the body. This results in cartilage death, causing permanent swelling and discolouration – giving the ear a cauliflower-like appearance.

Cauliflower ear can be, but is not always, painful. Although it is generally the result of blunt trauma to the ear. In rare instances, it can also be caused by relapsing polychondritis, a rheumatologic disorder.

Is it Permanent?

This condition is permanent as the cartilage can’t be repaired once it dies. The appearance, however, can sometimes be fixed through otoplasty surgery

Otoplasty surgeries are used to correct deformities and defects of the pinna (outer ear). For cauliflower ear, this surgery is performed in three main steps:

  1. Make an incision behind the ear.
  2. Remove the affected cartilage.
  3. Stitch up the incision.

This removes the swollen, discoloured cartilage, for a more aesthetic appearance. Since the cartilage is not repairable, the only option is removal.

Why You Should Get Cauliflower Ear Surgery

Because this condition is easily associated with combat sports, many athletes wear cauliflower ear like a badge of honour. It makes it easy to identify their involvement in their passion, so they don’t want to remove it through otoplasty. 

For most people, however, this is a decision worthy of reconsidering.

Who Shouldn’t Get Otoplasty for Cauliflower Ear

Generally, the only people who are well-advised to put off otoplasty are those who are at high risk of redamaging the ear. If you are still actively involved in the activity that caused cauliflower ear it may not make sense to undergo surgery.

A professional boxer, for instance, is often better off waiting until they finish their boxing career before choosing otoplasty. Their career puts them at very high risk for redamaging, so there is less incentive to get the surgery too soon.

Even in this scenario, however, it remains important to treat the ear. Although non-surgical treatments are temporary and do not resolve the issue, they can prevent or reduce the complications. Typical approaches use drainage, compression treatments, or both to manage the injury.

Consult With Toronto’s Otoplasty Specialist

Dr. Richard Rival is a prominent facial plastic surgeon who is an Otolaryngology (head and neck surgery) fellow at the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada. He is a teaching faculty member at UofT and holds a staff position at both St. Michael’s Hospital and Southlake Regional Health Centre.

With Dr. Rival, you can expect excellence in the surgical outcome and patient care for ear pinning. This procedure can also be combined with other facial cosmetic procedures such as rhinoplasty.

To meet with Dr. Rival and talk with him about your options for facial plastic surgery in Toronto, we encourage you to request a consultation or schedule an appointment.

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