Background: Acute haematoma of the pinna is a condition where a collection of blood forms beneath the perichondrial layer of the pinna. It is usually caused by blunt trauma, and if untreated will ultimately result in a deformity commonly known as 'cauliflower ear' or 'wrestler's ear'. Various treatments are employed to relieve the haematoma but no clear consensus exists on the best way to do so in order to produce the best cosmetic result with the least permanent deformity.
Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of treatment options in acute auricular haematoma.
Search strategy: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (Cochrane Library Issue 2, 2003), MEDLINE (1966 - 2003) and EMBASE (1966 - 2003) with pre-specified terms. The date of the last search was April 2003.
Selection criteria: Randomised controlled trials, case controlled trials and cohort studies including children and adults undergoing any intervention for acute auricular haematoma.
Data collection and analysis: Fifty-nine references were identified from the searches. Forty-eight were retrieved and assessed for eligibility by the authors. None met the inclusion criteria.
Main results: Due to the lack of data from trials fulfilling selection criteria no results could be presented.
Reviewers' conclusions: There is no clearly defined best treatment for acute auricular haematoma. There are no good quality data to determine either the optimal management strategy or even whether post-drainage intervention (such as splinting or bandaging) is necessary. Further research is required before any specific treatment may be recommended.