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Preauricular sinus in Adult
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Preauricular sinus in Adult

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Contributors: Sylvia Hsu MD, Jeffrey D. Bernhard MD
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Synopsis

Preauricular sinuses, or ear pits, are common congenital abnormalities that manifest as small pits adjacent to the external ear near the anterior margin of the ascending limb of the helix.

Preauricular sinuses arise during embryogenesis. One theory proposes that they may result from defective fusion of the six auricular hillocks that arise from the first and second branchial arches. These malformations may be sporadic or inherited in an incomplete autosomal dominant fashion, with reduced penetrance and variable expression. When inherited, they are more likely to be present bilaterally. The incidence varies by geographic location: 0.1%-0.9% in the United States, 1.6%-2.5% in Taiwan, and up to 4%-10% in some parts of Africa. Associated conditions include deafness and branchio-oto-renal syndrome.

The sinus tracts are typically narrow and short; usually, the duct connects to the perichondrium of the auricular cartilage. In rare cases, they may extend into the parotid gland. Preauricular sinuses are typically asymptomatic. However, they may present with discharge, either because of desquamating epithelial debris or as a sign of infection, most commonly with gram-positive organisms. Patients with ear pits complicated by infection may present with erythema, swelling, pain, and discharge. Infection can lead to abscess formation. Recurrent infection is an indication for surgical excision of the pit and sinus tract.

Codes

ICD10CM:
Q18.1 – Preauricular sinus and cyst

SNOMEDCT:
204272007 – Preauricular fistula

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Last Updated: 12/01/2017
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Preauricular sinus in Adult
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Preauricular sinus : Cheek, Sinus
Clinical image of Preauricular sinus
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