Chances are that if you practice Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you know someone whose ears look like a tortellini. Cauliflower ear is caused when the ear receives a blow that shears away the ear’s cartilage from its overlying perichondrium. Liquid fills the new space between the two layers, and will harden into a hard fibrous lump if not drained.
Here is how you should treat and drain you ears if you were to do it yourself (folowing instructions from this article):
“1. Apply ice. Immediately after the injury, you should try to reduce inflammation to the ear by applying an ice pack to the affected area. Apply the ice in 15-minute intervals with 15-minute breaks in between until the swelling goes down. Wrap the ice in a towel or similar cloth before applying it to the ear. Do not apply ice directly to the skin for a prolonged period of time since doing so could cause frostbite or other complications due to the extreme cold.
2. Use a head wrap to compress the ear. Wrap the affected ear with a tight headband or gauze to keep pressure on the injury. Pressure can stop the internal bleeding faster, thereby reducing the severity of the deformity.
Wrap elastic gauze around the ear. Wedge packing material in front of the ear and behind it to apply a moderate level of pressure.
Do not wrap the gauze so tightly that it causes a headache. You should also avoid wrapping it in a way that causes the gauze to block vision or the other ear.
Drain the ear:
Sterilize the needle. Cleanliness is key. You want to minimize any chance of infection.
Find a pocket of fluid and insert the needle into that area of your ear. This will hurt, and the skin will be tough, so you will need to put some force behind it. Once the needle is inside, you are ready to begin draining.
Don’t freak out as you begin to drain the ear. You are close to the ear drum, so you very well may hear the skin crunching, the needle moving around, the fluid being slurped out, etc. Keep calm and focus on the task at hand.
Apply sterile gauze. You have to get the wound to stop bleeding, and you will want to keep it covered. Change your gauze daily.
Monitor the ear. There is a chance that you may need to drain the ear again. If another draining is necessary, repeat the above steps.”
Saulo Ribeiro drains a student’s cauliflower ear during the 2013 Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu World’s training camp: