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As a fighter, you've been through a lot of tough matches. However, the hardest you've come up against is your fight against cauliflower ear. This common cosmetic problem can be unsightly, but treatment is possible. Cosmetic surgery is the most permanent way to help treat this problem, though DIY methods such as draining are possible.
Trauma To The Ear Can Cause Cauliflower Ear
Fighters (such as the infamous MMA fighter Randy Couture) often have large deformities on their ear that look rather like cauliflower – giving the condition the name. The condition is caused by blows to the head and ear, resulting in blood clots and tissue damage over time. It is typically more common in long-time fighters, especially those who get hit heavily in the head.
While this tearing and those blood clots aren't typically too dangerous or permanent, there's a chance that blood and pus can get caught in the cartilage of a damaged ear. Once this happens, the lobes of the ear start capturing more and swelling up to large sizes. This can affect your hearing and is often very unsightly. Though fighters now often look at them as a badge of honor, you may not feel the same way.
Draining The Ear Can Help
So how can you get rid of cauliflower ears on your own? If you're feeling tough, you can use a hypodermic needle to burst the collection of blood and pus and drain it. This requires wearing sanitized gloves (rubbing them under warm water and soap for at least 30 seconds), wiping the area with an alcohol swap and tea tree oil, and then pushing the needle into the affected area.
Carefully suck the liquid out of your ear and store it in a small container you don't mind throwing away. Apply pressure to the ear with a damp and disinfected wash rag to stop the bleeding. Similar treatment methods have been used for centuries by fighters and wrestlers like you, but turning to a cosmetic surgeon may be your best bet for managing this problem.
Surgery Is Likely Necessary
If you're unable to handle needles or the thought of puncturing yourself with one, cosmetic surgeons can typically perform the same surgery for you. They can also restore your ears to their natural shape. This is a particularly good idea if you are retiring from fighting or don't want cauliflower ear to impact any other job you likely perform on the side.
Cosmetic ear surgery typically uses flesh and fat from other parts of your body (often the buttocks) to re-build the ear into a more natural and pleasing look. After surgery, you won't be able to fight for a few weeks, so make sure to get surgery when you can afford to take a lengthy break. To learn more, contact a cosmetic surgeon like John Gatti MD.