Also known as: perichondritis infection, Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection.

What is perichondritis?

The perichondrium is a thin dense layer of tissue that surrounds cartilage and which provides it with nutrients. Cartilage is found associated with a number of bones in the body, and forms the firm tissue of the mobile parts of the ear or nose. Perichondritis is an infection of the perichondrium and a common site for an infection is the outer soft part of the ear.

What causes perichondritis?

Perichondritis most commonly occurs associated with an injury to the ear by piercing (particularly when it involves the cartilage), trauma (contact sports or from boxing for example) or surgery/burns. The most common cause of the infection is the bacterium called Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

What are the symptoms of perichondritis?

A painful, swollen, red ear around the injured site, is the usual presentation. With severe infection, fever, with fluid drainage from the wound site may be seen.

What are perichondritis care options?

Depending on severity, treatment consists of antibiotics given by mouth or intravenously. Surgical drainage may be needed if there is a trapped collection of infected fluid (abscess).

Reviewed by: Ana Margarita Duarte, MD

This page was last updated on: July 26, 2021 12:15 PM

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