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Ear tag

An ear (preauricular) tag is a small skin tag or pit in front of the outside part of the ear.

Alternative Names

Preauricular tag; Preauricular pit

Considerations

Skin tags and pits just in front of the opening of the outside (external) ear are commonly seen in newborn infants.

In most cases, these are normal. However, both preauricular tags and pits can be associated with other medical conditions. It is important to point out skin tags or pits to your child's health care provider during the routine well-child examination.

Causes

  • An inherited tendency to have this facial feature
  • A genetic syndrome that has preauricular pits or tags as one feature
  • A sinus tract problem (an abnormal connection between the skin and tissue underneath)

When to Contact a Medical Professional

A health care provider will usually find the skin tag during the first well-baby examination . However, call your health care provider if the child has bleeding, swelling, or discharge at the site.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The health care provider will get a medical history and will do a physical examination .

Medical history questions about this condition might include:

  • What exactly is the problem (skin tag, pit, or other)?
  • Are both ears affected or only one?
  • What other symptoms are present?
  • Does the child respond normally to sounds?

Physical examination:

The baby will be examined for other signs of disorders that are sometimes associated with preauricular tags or pits. A hearing test may be done if the child did not have the usual newborn screening test.

Updated: 5/10/2013

Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.


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