A novel technique for treating auricular hematomas in mixed martial artists (ultimate fighters).

Am J Otolaryngol. 2010 Jan-Feb;31(1):21-4. Epub 2009 Mar 26.

Roy S, Smith LP.

Department of Otolaryngology, Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33136, USA. sohamroy0@gmail.com
PURPOSE: This study aimed to describe a "bolsterless" technique for managing auricular hematomas in professional fighters. METHODS: Eight auricular hematomas were drained under local anesthesia by incising along an anatomical auricular crease. After evacuation of the hematoma and copious irrigation, the resultant skin flap was replaced in anatomical position, and through-and-through absorbable mattress sutures were used to secure the flap in place. Incision sites were left open and dressed with antimicrobial ointment. No bolsters were placed. The patients were given 1 week of oral antibiotic therapy. RESULTS: All 8 hematomas resolved without further intervention. All 8 ears returned to their preinjury cosmetic state. Fighters were able to return to training within a week of the initial injury. No postoperative infections or other complications were noted. CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to wrestlers, mixed martial artists (also called "ultimate fighters") do not routinely wear protective head gear. As a result, they are at increased risk of recurrent auricular hematomas, often resulting in severe auricular deformities (cauliflower ear). These patients are anxious to return to training and fighting, and are reluctant to wear a bolster after repair. At their urging, we agreed to attempt this bolsterless technique. Although 2 patients in this series already had a significant cauliflower ear before being treated for the current hematoma, in all cases the auricle returned to its preinjury condition. Bolsterless treatment using mattress sutures and cosmetically placed incisions represents a successful technique for management of auricular hematomas in this population.