The ear is a specialized sensory structure that is formed and protected by its sturdy cartilage framework. Unfortunately, the specialized structure of cartilage comes at a trade off, sacrificing strength for direct blood supply or innervation. Instead, surrounding perichondrial tissue supplies neighboring cartilage with metabolic support and nutrient exchange. This arrangement renders cartilage tissue highly susceptible to injuries that compromise its metabolic support.
Traumatic injuries to the ear, including infected piercings, can quickly progress to perichondritis and chondritis, conditions that can result in permanent injury as well as disfigurement.
Los Angeles plastic surgeon, Jason Hamilton, MD, discusses the need from prompt evaluation and treatment of perichondritis and ear cartilage trauma.