#114 Cauliflower Ear, Robert Drysdale

cauliflower ear bjj
A hard-earned case of cauliflower ear, aka auricular hematoma.

Recently I posted a quick blurb on TheFightWorksPodcast.com regarding cauliflower ear in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Based on the comments left by readers, the topic appeared to generate a good amount of interest so I figured it was time to discuss it on The FightWorks Podcast itself. Armed with questions from the Mighty 600,000 (that’s you!), I sat down with Doctor Aaron Schneir, an emergency medicine specialist at UCSD and a purple belt in BJJ and got some great details about what cauliflower ear is, how it’s caused, treatment options, and more.

We’ll also have an installment of the Black Belt Corner on this episode. The Black Belt Corner is when we ask a black belt in BJJ what their personal experience going from white belt to black belt was like, and what advice they have for BJJ folks who are not black belts yet. Our guest this time around is ADCC open division world champion Robert Drysdale. I think you’ll enjoy his answer to the question.

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7 thoughts on “#114 Cauliflower Ear, Robert Drysdale”

  1. I avoid Cali ear by getting the small IU needles and draining them as soon as its puffy. you stick ( obviously shower first,have clean hands, use alcohol swab or cotton- clean area you are sticking needle in -dont share or reuse etc) basically take all saftey precautions to sterilize. Stick needle in the middle of the puffyness and pull back of needle out so it sucks the blld into the IU needle. when done rub your alc swab over so it closes the tiny hole. this way it doesnt fill back up with air to refill with blood. this also releived pressure. this will def minimize your swelling and reduce your cali ear to still look as normal as possible. Your ear will still be a little thicker becuase the tissue builds to protect itself from friction.

  2. So I have a fun story about Cauliflower ear. I had been training for about 4 years with no cauli in sight. I actually would make fun of the guys that got it. Then I was helping a guy get ready for an MMA bout and bam I get an elbow to the ear. It hurt but no big deal then we trained a little more and bam an elbow to the other ear! That was the end for my ears by the end of practice they were huge. I went to the Trauma 5 Care unit. Which is like a step below the emergency room, basically an after hours clinic. So I get there and this doctor is all tattoo’d up and looks at it for a long time in awe. He then tells me that there is nothing he can do and referred me to a specialist. I was slightly mad because I didn’t want a huge bill. Well on my way out the office I walked by another older doctor and he jokingly made a comment that I should really get that looked at. Keep in mind this guy is old school like 65. I said I tried to but they referred me to a specialist, he started to laugh and was like sit down I will do it. So then word got out that he was going to drain it and before you know it I had six med students all in a small doctors office looking and my ear. I was a hit at the office. Then he said it needed pressure and left that to one of the med students. They were slightly confused as how to do that so they wrapped gauze all around my head and made me look like a WWII wounded soldier. I was also told to keep that on for 24h hrs. Ah no I have to work and that would be a running joke for years. But it was a good time.

  3. I was hoping to know what the chances of getting an infection are if you do nothing to the ear. Just leave it hte way it is, bumpy and swollen, and wait for the swelling to reduce naturally. Is an infection likely to develop that way?

  4. One of the comments refers to the huge bandage that is sometimes placed. There are actually much easier methods for compressing including placing absorbable (dissolvable) sutures (stiches there) rather than the big bandage which would make it pretty difficult to train. In terms of the infection risk–the risk would be extremely minimal and for that reason antibiotics would not be necessary. However, once the skin is penetrated by removing the hematoma (either by a needle or incision) bacteria has a chance to enter and so at that point the risk becomes higher and is why most physicians would prescribe an antibiotic.

  5. My granddaughter has cauliflower ear .don’t know what causes it . Her older brother had it as a infant also about a month after they were born they both got cauliflower ear …. if this is only found in wrestlers. then how did my grandchildren get it .. we need some answer…… p.s. my grandson had surgery done on his ear when he was 2 month old .. now it is deformed …..

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