KidsMD Health Topics

Our Health Topics

Perichondritis

  • Overview

    Perichondritis is an infection of the skin and tissue surrounding the cartilage of the outer ear. Perichondritis is usually caused by injury to the ear as a result of:

    Perichondritis can cause severe damage to the ear structure if it becomes chondritis  — infection of the cartilage itself.

    Cosmetic surgery

    Repeated infections of perichondritis can lead to a condition informally called "cauliflower ear." If your child has this disfiguring problem, plastic surgeons at Boston Children's Hospital's Cosmetic Surgery Program can help.


  • In-Depth

    What are the symptoms of perichondritis?

    • A painful, red ear is the most common symptom. At first the infection will look like a skin infection, but it will quickly worsen.
    • The redness usually surrounds a cut or scrape. Your child may also have a fever, and fluid draining from the wound.
  • Tests

    How is perichondritis diagnosed?

    Your child's doctor will review his medical history and then examine the infected ear. If there is a history of trauma to the ear and the ear is red and very tender, then your child's doctor will probably diagnose it as perichondritis.

    There may be a change in the normal shape of your child's ear as a result of the infection.

  • How is perichondritis treated?

    Your child's doctor will prescribe a course of antibiotics, either by mouth or through an IV. In the rare situation that there is a trapped collection of pus, surgery may be necessary to drain this fluid and remove any dead skin and cartilage.

    In more advanced cases, when the infection spreads to the ear cartilage itself, part of the ear may die and need to be surgically removed. If so, plastic surgery may be needed to restore the ear to its normal shape.

    If you suspect your child may have perichondritis, contact a doctor. The sooner this condition is treated, the less likely your child is to have any lasting effects as a result of it.

Request an Appointment

If this is a medical emergency, please dial 9-1-1. This form should not be used in an emergency.

Patient Information
Date of Birth:
Contact Information
Appointment Details
Send RequestIf you do not see the specialty you are looking for, please call us at: 617-355-6000.International visitors should call International Health Services at +1-617-355-5209.
Please complete all required fields

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

Thank you.

Your request has been successfully submitted

You will be contacted within 1 business day.

If you have questions or would like more information, please call:

617-355-6000 +1-617-355-6000
close
Find a Doctor
Search by Clinician's Last Name or Specialty:
Select by Location:
Search by First Letter of Clinician's Last Name: *ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
More optionsSearch
Condition & Treatments
Search for a Condition or Treatment:
Show Items Starting With: *ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
View allSearch
Visitor Information
The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
Close