The nodule hurts when pressed, and sometimes when it is cold. The pain can be intense but is usually short-lived, though it can last for as long as an hour. It often interferes with sleep, as people with chondrodermatitis wake up if they turn onto that side.
Chondrodermatitis nodularis look like
There is usually only one nodule – most often on the outer side of the upper part of the rim of the ear.
Chondrodermatitis nodularis usually comes on without any obvious trigger factor. The nodule grows to about a quarter of an inch across, and then stays that size. It is round or oval, slightly raised and firmly stuck to the underlying cartilage. It may look inflamed and its surface is scaly or crusty. A small raw area or core can often be seen centrally when the crust is removed.
Diagnosing Chondrodermatitis nodularis
The diagnosis is usually straightforward, based on the story of a tender lump on the ear - a small painful nodule on the rim of the ear is likely to be due to chondrodermatitis nodularis - but even if you think you have it, you should see your doctor as it is important to rule out a skin cancer (either of squamous or basal cell type). Just looking at the nodule can usually do this, but if there is doubt, a small piece can be removed under a local anaesthetic (a biopsy) and checked in the laboratory.
Chondrodermatitis nodularis can be cured.