Anotia / Microtia

Microtia refers to an abnormality of your outer ear. The condition can range from minor structural issues to the complete absence of your external ear (Anotia). People who have microtia are born with it (congenital), and may or may not have accompanying hearing loss. Treatments include ear prosthetics and surgery.

Preauricular Pit or Tag

Preauricular pits are also known as preauricular cysts, fissures, or sinuses. Preauricular pits are congenital, and can lead to benign cysts or infections. 

Preauricular tags are are fleshy knobs of skin in front of the ears without an attached sinus tract. Tags pose only a cosmetic problem and not a risk of infection like pits do.   

Preauricular pits and tags can occur by themselves or may occur in association with rare genetic syndromes. Newborns should be further evaluated for any other abnormalities. 

Canal Atresia

In congenital canal (aural) atresia, the external auditory canal (EAC) and structures in the middle ear fail to develop completely. There are varying degrees of severity of this malformation. In the severe form of the disorder, no identifiable ear canal exists (complete atresia), and the middle ear and its structures (ossicles, or ear bones) may be absent or show significant underdevelopment. In less severe forms of the disorder, the ear canal may be stenotic (narrow) with a pinpoint aperture leading into the medial ear canal and, possibly, a rudimentary tympanic membrane. The tympanic membrane in these ears may or may not be attached to the ear bones (the ossicular chain).

Canal Cholesteatoma

A canal cholesteatoma is a cystic structure lined by keratinizing stratified squamous epithelium with associated periostitis and bone erosion, which is most commonly found in the middle ear cavity. In rare cases they occur in the EAC. Treatment options include conservative medical therapy with frequent cleaning and debridement of the keratin debris and sequestered bone. In more severe cases, surgery may be required.


Exostoses are noncancerous bony growths in the outer ear canal. They often occur in people who have repeated exposure to cold water. The growths develop slowly and can lead to issues with retained ear wax, ear canal skin infections, and in some cases, hearing loss. In some cases, large exostoses require surgery to remove the bony overgrowths, and reconstruct the ear canal.

Otitis Externa

Otitis Externa (also called Swimmer’s Ear) is an ear infection in your ear canal and may be a bacterial or fungal infection, and is treated with eardrops that eliminate the infection.

Otorrhea (Aural Discharge or Drainage)

In most cases, otorrhea is a symptom of a middle ear infection (otitis media) or an outer ear infection/inflammation (otitis externa). But otorrhea can also occur if you have an unknown object stuck in your ear. Otorrhea treatment depends on the cause.  Although the most common reason for otorrhea is infection, having otorrhea doesn’t necessarily mean you have one. There are different types of otorrhea:

   1. Purulent (contains pus)
   2. Serous (contains serum, a protein-rich liquid in your blood)
   3. Bloody (contains blood)
   4. Mucoid (contains mucus)
   5. Clear (thin and watery)


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