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Doctors reveal cause of woman's foul-smelling 'turkey ear'

A woman in her 50s has been diagnosed with “turkey ear” after her ear progressively swelled over a number of years.

The woman, a resident of Israel, was hospitalised with what doctors called a “massively enlarged” auricle in 2008, according to her case in JAMA Dermatology, published on Wednesday.

A woman is pictured with 'turkey ear' or a swollen ear.
A woman from Israel was diagnosed with 'Turkey ear'. Source: JAMA Dermatology

“She was adamant that the lesion had been present since early childhood but had gradually increased with a recent appearance of foul-smelling otorrhea,” researchers wrote.

Otorrhea is discharged from the ear.

“Diascopy revealed an ‘apple jelly’ appearance,” researchers wrote.

A diascopy is when skin is checked by applying pressure.

Woman diagnosed with tuberculosis

Doctors did not find any swollen lymph nodes, which would have suggested a viral or bacterial infection, and “general physical examination findings were unremarkable”.

The woman was diagnosed with tuberculosis which can lead to the skin changing colour and texture.

She received antibiotics for her ear, but did not follow up with doctors until last year with the ear returned to normal.

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