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External Ear Infections - Pinna Infection

External Ear Infections - Pinna Infection: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and More | Singapore General Hospital

External Ear Infections - Pinna Infection - What it is

The pinna is part of the outer ear. Infection can affect the pinna and the underlying cartilage leading to undesirable ‘cauliflower’ deformities.

External Ear Infections - Pinna Infection - Symptoms

The affected pinna is red, swollen and painful. It is extremely painful to touch.

External Ear Infections - Pinna Infection - How to prevent?

Ear piercing (especially through the cartilaginous part of the pinna) is not advisable as it can lead to perichondritis and pinna abscess.

External Ear Infections - Pinna Infection - Causes and Risk Factors

Normal common bacteria resides on the skin of the pinna.

A breach of the skin can allow the normal bacteria that resides on the skin of the pinna to infect the skin and the underlying cartilage. Trauma to the pinna and cartilage is the most common cause of pinna infection. If the infection involves the cartilage, it is called perichondritis. Sometimes the infection is severe enough to destroy the cartilage and cause an abscess (pus collection).

Infection of the external ear canal may also spread to involve the pinna.

External Ear Infections - Pinna Infection - Diagnosis

The diagnosis is often evident from history and physical examination. A swab of the pus may be obtained.

External Ear Infections - Pinna Infection - Treatments

You will be admitted to hospital for intravenous antibiotics to prevent the infection from progressing into an abscess. If an abscess has already formed, it will need to undergo incision and drainage as well as daily cleansing and dressing. The abscess destroys normal cartilage and as it heals, the disordered new cartilage growth may lead to a deformity called ‘cauliflower ear’.

External Ear Infections - Pinna Infection - Preparing for surgery

External Ear Infections - Pinna Infection - Post-surgery care

External Ear Infections - Pinna Infection - Other Information

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