Sunday, October 18, 2009

Go away cauliflower ear!

Damn cauliflower ear! I, Phillipe Nover for the first time after training
in martial arts for over 15 years started to get symptoms of cauliflower
ear in my left ear. Probably from training wrestling so much. It started
to hurt and I could feel this liquid moving around underneath the
skin on my ear.

For those of you who don't really know what cauliflower ear is. It
occurs from blunt trauma to the ear. The cartilage of the ear has no
other blood supply except that supplied by the overlying skin. When
the skin is pulled from the cartilage, and/or separated from the
cartilage by blood (as with accumulated, localized blood from injury,
called a hematoma) or infection, the cartilage is deprived of
important nutrients. Ultimately, the cartilage dies and the risk of
infection is increased.

Untreated, the ear cartilage begins to contract on itself forming a
shriveled up outer ear classically known as the cauliflower ear

Blood and fluid leak into the space between the cartilage and the
overlying skin. This area is drained and a compression dressing should
be applied for up to 9 days.

Applying this dressing for almost 9 days can be difficult. I drained
my ear and attempted to put magnets on each side of my ear to keep
the two surfaces areas touching. It didn't work and was very painful.
Then I put all sorts of clips and they were all to painful. A training
partner of my told me to use tape. But the tape wouldn't give me that
sort of pressure to keep the area from filling up with fluid again. So
I decided to try something new.

Instead of draining the area over and over, night after night just to have it
fill up again. I took an angiocath (The needle nurses start IVs with)
and I stuck my ear with it. I hit the right spot and let the fluid
leak out. This time however I connected a hep lock (The initial part of
an IV set) to the angiocath. In a sense it was as if I started an IV
lock in my ear. But this time I wanted to make it more of drainage
system for my ear. I also wanted to create a close pressure system. So
I took a 10cc syringe and connected it to the hep lock. I drew back
1.5cc's and taped up the end of the syringe so it will hold a decent
amount of drainage pressure. Keep in mind this is a closed and sterile
system. (Don't try this at home.)

I slept with the thing on and when I woke up more fluid came out. I can not
keep this IV thing on my ear all day long so I had to take it out. And yet
again my ear blew up! Night after night I drained it again.

I finally found something to clip onto my ear that doesn't hurt bad after
I drain it. I use a small portion of a metal finger splint. I would cut
it and bend it to the shape of my ear and wear it. Seems to be working
well for now. I'll let you guys know how It looks in a few days.

*1 -


Mikhail said...

being a nurse myself, I can only imagine how hard it must have been to put this contraption on yourself. Great guide though, this should go on the nursing books.. :)This is the first real guide I read on relieving a cauliflower ear. But this is really some advanced stuff that only a medical professional can do, so people, don't go poking your ear randomly cause it can get infected and give you a much bigger problem than your cauliflower ear.

Once again philippe, great procedure, the link suggested that an incision is made, but I think that is much riskier than just draining it with an angiocath.

webzyke band said...

hehe.. galing talga ! The greatest nurse in the world!:D

Jaydee said...

Could you please make a video on how you did it with the angiocath thing?

I might get cauliflower ear during my wrestling one of these days.

Thanks in advanced, and good luck.



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Noel said...

actively taking BJJ and I'm about to have my ear drained again for the third time in a week.Doesn't really bother me but why blood keeps building up after i took a week of w/ no BJJ.