ZocdocAnswersWhat is the pimple-like growth in my ear?

Question

What is the pimple-like growth in my ear?

For over a month, I have a pimple-like growth in my ear. It is a swollen bump that is about the size of a pinky tip. It lies inside the ear and just outside the ear canal. It hurts, can be scarlet red at times, and can have little bits of pus coming out of it. It started out pretty small, and I thought it was a pimple and so did nothing with it. But now it has grown bigger and bigger. It doesn’t appear to be a pimple at all. It hurts every time I try to put on a sweater. What can it be? Should I see a doctor, or would it go away on its own?

Answer

I highly suggest that you show this to a doctor, such as your primary care doctor or an ear, nose, and throat doctor. It is very unlikely that this is a serious problem, but it should be looked at as it has been going on for some time and probably needs to be treated. Most likely, this is either a small cyst (which can swell up and down and periodically leak thick material which looks like pus) or a chronic abscess which is not healing on its own. It is possible that, in order for this to heal up it will need to be lanced and opened up to drain the pus (in the case of an abscess) or removed surgically (in the case of a cyst). Your doctor should be able to tell what is going on and recommend a treatment. Occasionally chronic nonhealing sores on the external portion of the ear can be skin cancer or precancerous spots. This is a more common problem in older people, especially if they have had significant sun damage or exposure to sun over the years. Start by talking to your doctor who will help you decide what, if anything, should be done about this spot.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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