Learn the symptoms and causes of perichondritis, an infection of the ear skin and cartilage tissue that may lead to serious annoyance.

Causes and symptoms of perichondritis

Perichondritis is an inflammation of the pinna, the skin of the perichondrium of the ear. In some cases this ailment can result from an otitis externa that has not been treated correctly, but it also may arise due to wounds, insect bites, burns, acupuncture, aesthetic pierced ears and surgeries.

The risk of getting perichondritis is higher in people with inflammatory disorders or a weakened immune system, as well as in people suffering from diabetes.

Most common symptoms

Often, people suffering from perichondritis experience:

  • Redness
  • Earache
  • Pinna’s swelling

In some cases can occur:

  • Abscess, collection of pus
  • Fever

Differences between perichondritis and polychondritis

Polychondritis is characterized by cartilage swelling and it affects to articulate, vision and cardiovascular. This may occur in different areas of the body. Moreover, it is an inflammatory multisystem disease. Perichondritis, instead, affects solely to the pinna.

Recommended treatment for perichondritis

In case of presenting some of the symptoms mentioned above, Kiversal recommends visiting a specialist capable of evaluating and providing an adapted diagnosis for each situation. The professional will perform a physical exploration and in some cases will do a culture of the infection.

Treatment will depend on its severity. In milder cases, antibiotics administered orally will be used, which may vary according to the causative bacteria.

If perichondritis was caused by a foreign object (like a piercing or a splinter), as well as if there was abscess, it will be removed through an incision in order to drain out the pus. In more severe cases, the antibiotic may be given intravenously and hospitalisation could be required.

If the infection is already well advanced and it affects the cartilage (also known as chondritis) it can cause a deformation. Then a plastic surgery would be needed in order to give it back its initial appearance.

Although perichondritis is a rare ailment, specialists and patients must know its characteristics in order to determine the most suitable treatment. Learn more about different types of ear diseases on our blog.