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Assessing The Psychosocial And Functional Implications Of Cauliflower Ear
Nicholas Elmer, BS, Samuel Manstein, MD, Natalie Hassell, BA, Carly Comer, MD, Valeria Bustos, MD, Samuel Lin, MD.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA.

PURPOSE: Cauliflower ear is a deformity of the ear that arises in the setting of blunt trauma leading to a characteristic appearance of a bulbous external ear. This deformity may lead to significant cosmetic concerns and a myriad of functional and psychosocial issues.
METHODS: An anonymous survey was distributed by email via RedCAP to members of the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA). Participants were asked basic demographic information, history of cauliflower ear, psychological and functional experience with cauliflower ear, and history of reconstruction for cauliflower ear.
RESULTS: 534 responses were analyzed. The mean age of respondents was 46.7 (SD 13.5) and 17 participants (3.2%) were female. Of those surveyed, 366 (68.5%) reported having a history of cauliflower ear. Of those affected, 39 (10.7%) reported feeling self-conscious about their ears or felt embarrassed by their ears in social interactions. 74 participants (20.2%) believe their cauliflower ear has played a role in relationships or potential relationships. 13.1% reported issues with hearing, 60.9% have experienced associated pain, 29.8% had issues with sleeping, and 6.8% reported infections or medical complications. 160 participants (43.7%) were moderately or very aware of surgical options to treat their cauliflower ear(s). Additionally, 38 participants (10.4%) reported that they are currently or have previously considered surgical treatment of their ears.
CONCLUSION: Those affected by cauliflower ear experience a range of functional and psychological complications. Those affected may be interested in surgical treatment. Plastic surgeons should recognize the complications of this condition and provide those affected with counseling on surgical options.


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