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While most people don’t even know that this kind of thing is possible, many people have small holes in front of one or both of their ears. This is something quite frequently referred to as having ‘preauricular pits,’ but what does that mean?

Well while some people do have them they are still considered to be quite rare in general far more people than you’d assume do have them. These pits are extra sinus tracts under the skin. The small hole is the opening of this tract and most are seen on the right side of the head as opposed to the left. These pits come in a wide variety and do not often look exactly the same.

Some of the other names they have earned are preauricular cysts, fissures, or sinuses. These do not belong where they end up and are sometimes long but not always. According to, they are congenital which means that children are born with this malformation because the development of their ear went a bit different than was expected while in early gestation. It does not affect the hearing at all and for the most part can even go unnoticed. wrote as follows in regards to this kind of thing:

A child with a preauricular pit by itself is usually otherwise healthy. Often, people hardly notice a pit or, if it’s close enough to the ear, may mistake it for an ear piercing. A pit can be left alone unless it poses a risk of recurrent infection or cysts. In that case, surgery can successfully remove the entire pit and your child will have no further problems associated with it.

Usually, this kind of thing is diagnosed within the first few hours of a child’s life but on occasion, they are small enough to get by those looking for them. This kind of thing does come with a risk of infection but for most, they are no trouble at all. If you have one or more of these pits and are noticing swelling, redness, or discharge you should see a doctor.

Rare Diseases wrote as follows in regards to treatment for this kind of thing:

The majority of preauricular sinuses do not cause symptoms or problems unless they become infected. Common signs of infection include swelling, redness, fluid drainage, and pain. In these cases, treatment typically includes systemic antibiotics. If an abscess is present, it will likely need to be incised and drained.

There are differing opinions in the medical literature about the indications for surgical removal of preauricular sinuses. Some believe that even asymptomatic sinuses should be removed. Others believe that surgery is indicated if infection or other complications arise.

To learn more about this interesting defect please check out the video below. What do you think about this? While I don’t have any I do think they are quite interesting. Do you have any tiny holes in front of your ears? If so, did you know what they were before or is this news to you?

(Image Via: Wikicommons/smooth_0)