Cauliflower ear is a deformity of the outer ear caused by repeated trauma or injury to the ear. It is most commonly seen in sports like wrestling, judo, jiu-itsu and boxing.
The condition occurs when the external ear suffers a traumatic injury, such as a hard blow, pinch, or squeeze. The trauma damages the ear’s cartilage, which can lead to the formation of blood clots or fluid accumulation in the ear. Over time, the cartilage can become permanently damaged or deformed, causing the characteristic appearance of cauliflower ear.
If left untreated, cauliflower ear can cause discomfort, pain, and even hearing loss.
Treatment may involve draining the fluid or blood from the ear, applying compression, or surgery to repair or reshape the ear. In some cases, the damage may be irreversible, and the person may have to live with the scar tissue.
In combat sports circles it can be considered a badge of honor, though a number of combat sport athletes still chooses to drain theirs.
Dr David Abbasi addressed one complication that often arises from a cauli ear in a video:
“So with cauliflower ear, you have a replacement of the ears, normal cartilage, with a scar cartilage or fibrocartilage. And more fullness of the ear, the ear also gets very, very firm are hard for those who have pressed on a cauliflower ear. ”
“So you have something that’s very firm and solid. And then you have the very firm and solid head and then you have the ear skin, which is a weak weak link in the chain so that can have injuries, or that area of transition there can get ruptures or lacerations or breaks of the skin, and that’s where we commonly see him.”
“With these ear explosion injuries. Injuries typically occur to the external ear or above the ear canal. ”
Luckily this complication is mostly related to MMA so most BJJ practitioners are safe from it.