Preauricular sinus is a common birth defect that may be seen during a routine exam of a newborn. It generally appears as a tiny skin-lined hole or pit, often just in front of the upper ear where the cartilage of the ear rim meets the face. It may occur on one side (unilateral) or both sides (bilateral) of the ear. Affected people usually do not have any additional symptoms unless it becomes infected. Preauricular sinus may occur sporadically during the development of an embryo or it may be inherited in an autosomal dominant manner with reduced penetrance. Less often, it occurs as a feature of another condition or syndrome. Treatment may include antibiotics for infection and/or surgery to remove the sinus.
Source: GARD Last updated on 05-01-20
The majority of preauricular sinuses do not cause symptoms or problems unless they become infected. Common signs of infection include swelling, redness, fluid drainage, and pain. In these cases, treatment typically includes systemic antibiotics. If an abscess is present, it will likely need to be incised and drained.
There are differing opinions in the medical literature about the indications for surgical removal of preauricular sinuses. Some believe that even asymptomatic sinuses should be removed. Others believe that surgery is indicated if infection or other complications arise.
Last updated on 05-01-20
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