By Gary M. White, MD

preauricular sinus

The congenital preauricular sinus is a congenital sinus that typically occurs just anterior to the ear. The sinus usually ends blindly, but rarely, the pinpoint opening may actually represent a fistula, connecting with the tympanic or intratonsillar cleft.


A small pinpoint opening is seen preauricularly. Occasionally, the area may become infected. Pain and swelling are the result.

One study found an association between parents and their children for bilateral preauricular sinus (AOR of father's bilateral preauricular sinus=35.711; AOR of mother's bilateral preauricular sinus=7.683) [Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2014 Oct 25;78(12):2255-57]. There was no association with hearing loss.


A congenital preauricular sinus may be observed. If deemed necessary, a pediatric otolaryngologist can excise it.

Additional Pictures

Older gentleman with bilateral preauricular sinuses. They would periodically drain "smelly stuff". His daughter was similarly affected.
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