Ear laceration (cut in the skin): Causes, description, Treatment

Ear Nose | Otorhinolaryngology | Ear laceration (cut in the skin) (Disease)

Ear laceration (cut in the skin): Description

Lacerations to the ear may involve the skin, the fibrocartilaginous or fatty tissues of the auricle, or any combination thereof. The superficial temporal artery and posterior auricular artery provide the blood supply to the ear.

The symptoms of a laceration include pain, bleeding, swelling, and bruising to the skin. Worsening redness, swelling, and tenderness around a laceration are signs of a skin infection, called cellulitis.

Causes and Risk factors

A person with a laceration has a cut, or tear, in the skin, caused by an injury. Lacerations may also involve structures that lie beneath the skin, such as muscles, tendons, blood vessels, and nerves. When the doctor evaluates an ear laceration, it will be important to determine if the laceration has damaged the cartilage in the ear.

Ear laceration (cut in the skin): Treatment and Diagnosis

When repaired appropriately, lacerations to the ear generally heal well because of this generous dual blood supply. A single vascular pedicle, containing the upper auricular branch of the superficial temporal artery, can provide supply enough blood for the entire ear. Treatment may include repair of the laceration with sutures.

If the cartilage is involved absorbable sutures are placed in the cartilage to repair the defect. Complicated ear lacerations may require plastic surgery repair. Ear lacerations should be repaired within 12 hours to prevent infection. While waiting for treatment the laceration can be cleaned with running water and covered with gauze or a clean cloth. Pressure on the wound can be applied to stop bleeding. A tetanus shot may be needed if the last shot was more than 5 years for a dirty wound or more than 10 years for a clean wound

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