The ear consists of the internal and the external part. The structure and shape of the ear are formed by a bone tissue inside and a cartilage tissue from the outside. What we see from the outside is actually a cartilage covered with the skin.
Cartilage Tissue in Ear
Cartilage is a smooth, flexible and resilient tissue. It is a connective tissue, and we have it all over the body. One small part of the cartilage is located in the outer part of the ear. In fact, the cartilage gives shape to the outer part of the ear. This cartilage is yellow or elastic cartilage. It is in the larynx and epiglottis, too. Elastic or yellow cartilage is derived from many yellow elastic fibers and this gives the cartilage great flexibility. There aren’t any blood vessels and nerves. That is why cartilage repairs more slowly than other tissues.
Trauma to the Outer Part of the Ear
Injuries of the outer part of the ear can be mechanical, physical and chemical. A reason of the cartilage damage is mainly mechanical and rarely physical. Mechanical injuries occur most often in athletes who do boxing, play football and soccer. Injuries during sports matches occur through mainly rough touches, intentional or accidental strike, but there were also causes of biting the part of the outer ear. The injury may be caused by the abrupt withdrawal of earrings, whereby a laceration of the ear happens. When multiple injuries damage the connection between cartilage and perichondrium, the cartilage cannot be supplied with nutrients. Instead, it promotes fibrous tissue and gets in a state of the cauliflower-like structure. It’s called cauliflower ear. The physical reason of the cartilage damage is a frizzing.
The Healing of the Ear Cartilage
When there is a damage of the ear cartilage, small clots can go between the cartilage and the perichondrium, and the cartilage no longer receives nutrients. Therefore, its healing is slower than in other tissues that have a blood supply. That means, if we prevent or minimize the formation of the clots, the healing will be faster. The same reason will lead to a higher risk of an infection. We need to allow the drainage of accumulated fluids in order to prevent the formation of clots. This will be achieved by fixing the ear cartilage. For this purpose, there are silicone splints. They press the ear cartilage on both sides and so they improve the drainage. Healing rate depends on the type of an injury, too. In the case of piercing, the healing is slower if the ear lobe cartilage is pierced. The infection is an important risk factor for the success of the healing. To prevent infection, the most important is the hygiene and it is important to stay away from touching your skin with dirty hands.
Preventing of Ear Injuries
If you are planning to have your ears pierced, let the professionals do it for you. Wear protective ear guards during the sports activities that can end up with an injury. If you are playing rugby of you do boxing, wear the headgear. It is specially designed for each of the sports.