By name, it may seem a matter of laughter, but the reality is that it is not so. The “cauliflower ears” are one of the most common strains in fighters martial arts and rugby players and other contact sports that occurs because of a nasty blow or many repeated blows in this area of the body. The result is a deformation that can resemble a cauliflower, hence the name of this pathology.
As we said, the cauliflower ear is produced as a result of receiving a strong impact or many repeated blows in the area of the ear: due to this, there is a clot or accumulation of blood or other fluids in the perichondrium of the ear, the connective tissue surrounding the gelatinous part thereof.
The gelatinous tissue is not vascularized, that is, to receive nutrients it uses the perichondrium, in which there are blood vessels. When the gelatinous tissue of the ear is separated from the vascular tissue by that clot, the former stops receiving nutrients, which causes the tissue to die and fibrous tissue begins to accumulate in that area, leading to deformation.
The cauliflower ear is an irreversible deformation: it can be improved by draining the clots of the ear if it acts quickly (within the first six hours) and, of course, through cosmetic surgery interventions. But the truth is that so far it has come to be seen as a sign of a certain “prestige” among athletes.
To prevent its appearance, certain protections such as the “melee helmet” may be used in rugby (which can now also be worn by players who do not participate in the melee) or the head protection helmet in contact sports such as boxing or kickboxing.