Disorders of the auricle include skin cancers due to sun exposure. Traumatic auricular hematoma must be drained to prevent significant cosmetic deformity (cauliflower ear) or canal blockage resulting from dissolution of supporting cartilage. Similarly, cellulitis of the auricle must be treated promptly to prevent perichondritis and resultant deformity. Relapsing polychondritis is characterized by recurrent, frequently bilateral, painful episodes of auricular erythema and edema and sometimes progressive involvement of the cartilaginous tracheobronchial tree. Treatment with corticosteroids may help forestall cartilage dissolution. Polychondritis and perichondritis may be differentiated from cellulitis by sparing of involvement of the lobule, which does not contain cartilage.
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