Surgical Repair of an Aural Hematoma in a Cat

An aural hematoma is a blood filled pocket between the skin and cartilage of an animal’s ear. Aural hematomas often occur secondary to an ear infection or other uncomfortable ear malady that causes an animal to shake its head or scratch at its ears.

Aural Hematoma Cat

As you can see in the video, the ear on this cat is thicker than normal with a soft area in the center, which is where the blood (hematoma) has collected.

To help this cat, it is not only important to resolve the aural hematoma, but also make sure that the ear infection that brought it on is taken care of as well.

There are a variety of ways to surgically repair an aural hematoma, most of which involve cutting into the ear and evacuating the blood that accumulated, then sewing the ear up in a way that will cause a scar to form between the skin and the cartilage, once again restoring the bond between the two sides of the ear.

The surgical approach that I use involves using a 2mm punch biopsy to “punch” holes in the skin side of the ear (not through the cartilage on the other side) over the entire area that is affected by the aural hematoma. The blood is removed from within the pocket and can continue to drain through the holes and stitches are put in place to anchor the skin to the cartilage. The stitches fall out over time leaving the skin scarred down to the cartilage, eliminating the pocket.

Aural Hematoma Surgical Repair Cat

In the photo, you can see stitches that are adjacent to and encompassing the small holes that were created in the skin with a 2mm punch biopsy. In the end, this cat’s ear may feel thicker than normal, but it will be more comfortable without the ear infection and hematoma.