Aural (Ear) Hematoma is a swollen ear, caused by bleeding usually resulting from self-inflicted trauma. Ear infections, foreign objects, allergies, and ear mites can cause intense itching or pain, making your pet shake its head and scratch at the ears. This can damage blood vessels in the ears’ cartilage, causing swelling from bleeding into the area. If left alone, the condition can become quite disfiguring, and is known as Cauliflower Ear in humans.
Under general anesthesia, Dr. Winkler uses the surgical laser to create a series of hole-like incisions over the swelling to drain the hematoma without further damage to the cartilage. Then sutures are placed between the holes to hold the skin against the cartilage. The laser incisions allow better drainage than that from a scalpel without bleeding themselves, while the sutures create a strong scaffold to heal the hematoma and help prevent future recurrence. This is followed by two or more laser therapy sessions every so often to enhance the healing process. The underlying cause of the hematoma is also sought and addressed as best as possible during the procedure.
Healing typically takes 2-3 weeks, during which time it is recommended that your pet be on antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, and wear an Elizabethan collar so as not to interfere with the sutures. The goal of the surgery is to return your pet’s ear to its original state as much as possible to reduce chronic pain, discomfort, and disfigurement.