What do ear pits mean?

What do ear pits mean?

A preauricular pit is a small hole in front of the ear, toward the face, that some people are born with. This hole is connected to an unusual sinus tract under the skin. This tract is a narrow passageway under the skin that can cause infection. Preauricular pits go by many names, including: preauricular cysts.

How rare is it to have a preauricular pit?

According to research by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), preauricular skin lesions, including pits and tags, affect between five and 10 babies in every 1,000 live births. In general, these holes are minor irregularities that do not cause serious complications.

Why do ear pits smell?

A preauricular sinus appears as a very small pit just in front of the external ear (see figure 1). Most people with preauricular sinuses are completely asymptomatic. However, these sinuses can drain a foul smelling discharge, and when this happens, they are prone to chronic infection.

What causes a preauricular sinus?

Preauricular sinus may occur sporadically during the development of an embryo or it may be inherited in an autosomal dominant manner with reduced penetrance . Less often, it occurs as a feature of another condition or syndrome . Treatment may include antibiotics for infection and/or surgery to remove the sinus.

Are Preauricular pits genetic?

Causes of Preauricular Pit Sometimes it’s a genetic condition. The visible part of your ear is called the auricle. A baby typically grows it during the sixth week of pregnancy. A preauricular pit forms when the auricle doesn’t fuse all the way.

Is Preauricular sinus hereditary?

Preauricular sinuses are inherited in an incomplete autosomal dominant pattern, with reduced penetrance and variable power of expression. They can arise spontaneously. The sinus may be bilateral in 25-50% of cases, and bilateral sinuses are more likely to be hereditary.

Do ear pits go away?

A preauricular pit is a small hole in front of your ear that you are born with. Most of the time it is harmless and doesn’t cause any health problems.

Does preauricular sinus affect hearing?

Preauricular pits are congenital, meaning children are born with this malformation when ear development goes awry early in gestation. However, the malformation is not associated with hearing impairments, and only rarely associated with a genetic syndrome involving other problems.

How do you get rid of Preauricular pits?

Surgically removing the entire tract if the pit is prone to recurrent infections. The procedure is done under general anesthesia and may take up to an hour; it can be done in an outpatient facility. A surgeon will usually postpone surgery until after an infection and residual inflammation are cleared up.

What does it mean when you have a tiny hole above your ear?

A preauricular pit—also referred to as a preauricular sinus or fistula—is a tiny, abnormal hole in front of the ear. It may appear more like a dimple or a piercing in an odd place. A preauricular pit occurs as a result of fusion problems during the sixth week of gestation, when the ear is developing.

Is preauricular sinus bad?

The main problem with preauricular pits, if they appear in an otherwise healthy child, is that they can lead to benign cysts or infections, including small pus-filled masses known as abscesses. When a child gets repeat infections, a surgeon may recommend complete removal of the pit.

Is preauricular sinus genetic?

Is there disagreement about the presence of an ear pit?

Thus, there is usually no disagreement among physicians as to whether an ear pit is present or not. However, disagreement can occur when one judges continuous traits based on impression alone, without the benefit of measurement.

Where is the preauricular pit in the ear?

A preauricular pit is a small hole in front of the upper ear, located just between the face and the cartilage of the ear rim. A preauricular pit may occur on one or both sides of the ear. It is a common birth abnormality. Most people with this type of hole in the ear do not experience additional symptoms.

Why do people have tiny holes in their ears?

They often present as tiny holes or pits near where the top of people’s ears meets their heads. And there may be a fascinating evolutionary reason some people have them. According to, about one percent of people have preauricular sinuses. About half of those affected have them on just one side while half have them on both sides.

Is there a hole in the ear before birth?

A preauricular pit is a second hole in the ear that forms before birth. This is not usually a cause for concern, but infection may lead to mild complications. Read this article to learn more.