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Seaport-Airport Road, Chittethukara, Kakkanad, KOCHI 682 037.


A furuncle starts as a red lump. It may be tender. The lump rapidly fills with pus, and as it grows it may burst. furuncle is a staphylococcal infection of the hair follicle. As the hair are confined only to the cartilaginous part of the meatus, furuncle is seen only in this part of the meatus.

The patient usually presents with severe pain and tenderness which are out of portion to the size of furuncle. Movements of the pinna and jew are painful. A furuncle of posterior meatal wall causes swelling over the mastoid with obliteration of the retroauricular groove. Periauricular lymph nodes (anterior, posterior, and inferior) may also get enlarged.

Treatment in early cases, without abscess formation, consists of systemic antibiotics, analgesics and local heat. An ear pack of 10% ichthammol glycerine reduces oedema. Ichthammol is midly antiseptic as well. If abscess has formed, incision and drainage should be done.

In case of recurrent furunculosis, diabetes should be excluded and attention paid to the patient’s nasal vestibules which may harbour staphylococci and the infection transferred by patient’s fingers. Staphylococcal infections of the skin as a possible source should also be excluded and suitably treated.


Furuncles and carbuncles both result in swelling under the skin, and there may be other symptoms, too.