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Recurring Preauricular Pit/Discharge
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Recurring Preauricular Pit/Discharge

My son is 5 yrs old and has had 3 operations on a preauricular pit.  His last operation was when he was 1.5 yrs old.  Now 5 and the scar, which never healed properly and had post-op infections resistant to antibiotics has now started discharging small amounts of pus and irritating him, going red and hurting him when I massage the area to try and get any discharge out.

Discharge is coming from the original pit site as well as the 2 tiny holes left by the stitches from the operations, discharge can vary from quite solidified and white to runny with some colour to it.

We are now booked in for a 4th and final operation (hopefully) this time the paeditrician will remove the underlying cartilage and use methylene blue (not sure if this will work considering the pit has been operated on already).  I suppose I want an ENT opinion or other persons experience.  Will this 4th op work considering cartilage is being removed, what else can we do?  This is a very traumatic issue for us and so very terribly painful to my son.  I live in Australia and hope this site can provide some info to me, I just don't know where else to go for assistance.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had an infected ear pit for 27yrs. It's quite embarassing at times but I've learned to deal with it. I thought about getting it treated but have not gone yet. I have read a couple of articles somewhere that once repeat surgical treament is generally not effective but I can't back that up, since I haven't had treatment myself. Have they tried needle aspiration, I here that is another alternative.
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Here is a link to an article I found very informational, it actually provides instructions on how to remove the sinus tract and possible complications of surgery. I hope this provides a little insight into your situation.

http://www.****
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been dealing with pain and swelling of my right ear over the past week, and after alot of research and several trips to a number of medical centres, I also realised the small hole present on my right external ear is a preauricular sinus/pit.

Upon my first visit to the GP(where my ear was not yet swollen but was very itchy, with alot of discharge and peculiar smell present), I was prescribed antibiotics(Ibilex) to treat my ear. I also had a sore throat which I thought was associated with my ear itching/swelling but the doctor said to just take the antibiotics to clear up my nose and throat. However, due to my skepticism with the GP's evaluation of my condition, I decided not to buy the prescribed antibiotics with the script I was given. I persisted with the sore throat and swollen ear(constantly applying Dettol antiseptic liquid) until the pain(especially my ear) reached the point that I needed better medicine to relieve my discomfort in my ear and throat. I purchased the antibiotics(Ibilex) 2 days after the initial visit to the GP and started taking them immediately, along with betadine gargle and strepsils to relieve my sore throat.

After 2 days taking Ibilex, my ear did not improve, with pain and swelling increasing. I managed to research some articles on the management of my condition(infected preauricular sinus) on the internet and discovered that my ear swelling was in fact an abscess forming, therefore needing an I&D(incision and drainage) procedure to be undertaken. I attempted to visit another GP this time(one which was open late at night) to undertake this procedure(as the pain in my ear and head was very severe) but it took me 2 GP appointments(through constant persistence that I needed the I&D procedure undertaken) to finally have my ear incised and drained. Once the surgical procedure with local anaesthesia was performed, the pressure and pain on the right side of my head was relieved. If anyone undergoes this I&D procedure, please make sure your doctor/nurse gives you some pain killers(Panadeine or panadeine forte depending on severity of pain) to control the pain after the local anaesthetic has worn off. I have currently changed my course of antibiotics from Ibilex to Flucloxacillin and am resting at home while my ear wound heals. My sore throat is still present but is much more bearable than the pain I experienced from my infected preauricular sinus/pit. I am currently gargling salt water and taking strepsils lozenges to relieve my sore throat.

Here is a good article I discovered while researching my condition-

http://www.****
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Avatar_n_tn
My daughter, now 4, has preauricular pits on both ears. She suffered with constant infections for about 6 months. She went through several rounds of various antibiotics, including three that she had allergic reactions to.  Her ENT wanted to operate on her, but my husband and I weren't comfortable with the idea. After reading so many postings where the operations didn't seem to work, I'm even more grateful that we chose not to go that route.
We have an awesome pediatrician who utilizes both traditional and homeopathic remedies. My daughter started taking 3 tiny homeopathic pills of Apis Mel twice daily. Now she takes them once daily. Since taking the pills she has never gotten another infection and it's been over 1 1/2 years.
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If the ENTIRE tract is not removed, the pits and the symptoms will persist.  Therein lies the difficulty and the failure rate.  There are techniques that the surgeon can use to help him or her be more sure that all has been removed.  But yes, the failure rate in certain hands can be frustratingly high.  I would recommend finding a surgeon with experience with these and one who is well-aware of their potential to track deeply.
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Avatar_n_tn
My 3 year old daughter has had bilateral pits since birth. One deeper one discharges white/yellow sebum every couple of days if i push near the hole. More appears during humid/hot weather which i assume is caused by more sweat/skin cells etc. She is never bothered by it and it is painless. I only 'pop' it when it appears a bit raised as though it is full. I believe this is normal and not necessarily pus due to an infection? It does not smell. Is that correct, or does she actually have a never-ending infection that should be treated with antibiotics?!

Also, could i be making it worse by releasing the sebum? Should i let it simply drain out on its own? I feel i am doing the right thing as i have an opportunity to clear it with clean hands and dettol disinfectant?
The surgery seems quite difficult, and given it doesn't trouble her, I have assumed it is uneccessary at this point.

  
I'd dearly appreciate any advice.
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1061534_tn?1276705661
I agree, probably not infected; you are expressing material from glands inside the pit.

My guess is that this will need to be treated at some point, however.  One of two things will likely happen -- either it will become infected and/or, as she ages, she will become embarrassed and self-conscious by it.  If it does become infected, the resultant scarring may make excision a little trickier.

I would suggest starting to find an Otolaryngologist whom you would trust to remove this, as I would think it's only a matter of time.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm twenty three i have two ear pits. I've been to some drs that have stated that extracting this white discharge is ok as long as there is no pain. I had one of the pits completely removed due to a bug bite in the same area and THERES NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT IF THIS HAPPENS :) I've never had any problems after the procedure and no pain or drainage either. (My surgery was twelve years ago.)
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Avatar_m_tn
a cousin of mine and me both have this condition, both of us have had this since birth. when I was very young my mother would clean it out now I do it myself. I'm 37 now and I dont find it embarrassing at all, and I have never had an infection in it. If it doesnt cause you or your children any sort of issue I would not recommend any type of surgery (if its not broke dont fix it!) I'm VERY active, I went through the army, as did my cousin, with it and I work out 12-15 hours a week. dont take anyone at there word when they say that eventually this is certain to be a problem, my personal experience would suggest otherwise.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have a 2 year old girl and 2 1/2 month baby. They were born with this pits in both ears. I just started to look for  some info today and found many articles about it.
I clean them like 3 times a week, but sometimes when I do it it just doesn't seem to stop comming out, specially in my girl. (this means is infected or normal function of the body )Should I just keep on doing it. If yes, could I just  alcohol or desinfectant. The pediatrician told me just to take what comes out and not push anymore, but sometimes it comes out a lot . I live in FL , so the whether makes it worse because of the sweat.
thanks./
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Avatar_f_tn
I agree with you Jclyde. I am 35 years old and have ear pits on both ears. The one on my left ear is the active one especially when I was growing up. Once in a while it would feel itchy (not painful) and would release a yellowish fluid that's got bad odour. When I was a teenager I was a bit embarassed about it but as you grow older - it doesn't matter much at all. Luckily I noticed they have been less irritated (itchy) and when they do - I just extract what I could with the use of alcohol (to disinfect and to mask the odor)
The right ear pit is inactive. Does not get eachy but since it is a whole, once in a while I would mildy press on it and white discharge which is not fould smelling would come out.

When I gave birth to my daughter 4 yrs ago (she had one ear pit) the first thing I checked was if she had one. Luckily its just one and not two. Also hers was the inactive one. Praying it does not get infected or anything.

I never thought ear pits would be a problem. I have had two cousins, an aunt who has got these, and I never heard of them getting infected to consider surgery.

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Avatar_f_tn
My daughter is 14 months old and had a pit on her left ear that we have removed 2 months ago. At first is healed great except the the "dissolvable" stitches didn't dissolve all the way. One kinda pokes  out of the skin a little. Then yesterday it looked swollen and white under the skin. This morning it was worse. I pushed on the area a little bit to see if anything would come out, and there was a bunch of puss and a little blood. Is this something I need to be worried about? Should I take her to the ER?

Thanks,
Melissa
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Avatar_n_tn
YES!!!  U should go to the ENT and have that puss removed it can continue to build . Unfortunetly the operation was not a success , it is said that its very rare a operation is a success . My son is now most likely going in for his fourth surgery, he has them on both ears as do I and my older brother and his daughter so as you can see I have had alot of experience with this stuff. My son is 6 and this will be his 4th in less than a year, I thought he had a good doctor but now not so sure and going to look for second opinion and doctor, I dont think hes is going to do it again . You can go back to the doc that worked on your child he will help you . You are going to probably go for another cause they didnt get it all out yet . If it is coming out you can use a hot compress to loosen up the puss and then gently touch the area and alot should come out at least to temporarly ease the pain of your child, my mother did it for me and I do it for my son except since his surgerys there are no more holes to drain so it makes me worried. Good luck to you and yours.....I will post outcome of my child in the attempt to help other concerning parents.....
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hey everyone i'm 18 andi was born with three of these pits....i have one on each top of the ear, and one near my left eye...i wish i had a picture to show you guys but i'll try to upload one later...but yea there is nothing wrong, i kinda like to show people lol makes me feel special, but no one in my family has it, on both sides no one has not even one.  So with me is it just something that happened or was it something in my past past family members???? just let me know i will check, and does anyone else have one near the eye????
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Avatar_f_tn
I completely agree with jclyde I'm 18 and mine has never been a problem or painful and is certainly not something to be self conscious about. I'm proud of my ear pit :)
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Avatar_n_tn
My daughter is 2 1/2 and has two. The ENT explained that these are developed in the womb and  should have been  the ears, but were not  propoerly formed so the body "abandoed"  it and created new ones. the pits can have long tracks  up ad down the jaw. if they are long then  the cause problems . If small they do not.
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I have a 2 year old son, who has 2 pits him self and has had them since he was born. He had surgery at 10 months, to remove the pits. Then a few months ago they started to get big and red. I took him back to the ear dr. Need less to say he had surgery again on the right side last month. Now his left side has gotten big and red and hurts him. He goes back to the dr this month. Will he be having surgery the rest of his life? Should i look for another dr?? Hes in so much pain from them. Im so worried about him.
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Avatar_m_tn
To all parents in  which is concerned, never tamper with that preauriccular pit spot. That make matters worse for your childs condition. I know from exsperience. Search for a doctor with the best knowledge before considering surgery.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm 28 and used to have preauricular pits. My dad has them too but he never has any problems at all. I had several infections when I was a kid and had to go through painful treatments for them. The pain associated with it (itchy, swollen big lump) was excruciating and I remembered one time doctor had to use a massive syringe to remove the pus (that was long time ago). Last infection I had made me go through two "incision&drainage" procedures (first one didn't drain all the pus completely) and anesthetics given to me didn't work particularly well because of the infection. The whole thing was just problematic and painful...I hope people who have them don't need to go through what I've been through. By reading your comments it sounds like most of you don't have that kind of problem (except for the kids =( ). I had them removed a few years ago after one bad infection and it was a successful operation and i could not be more happy about it. I would recommend surgery for people who has infection problem. The main thing is to have them remove COMPLETELY so make sure you get a good ENT surgeon. I'm a bit skeptic about doing it at a very young age now that I've read your comments (I have it removed when I was in my early 20s). Is it better to remove them when the kids are bit older? Does it make it easier? I am not so sure. However I still think you should talk to your ENT doctors first.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi! I also have a daughter who has this pit..its on her left ear..before, it doesn't bother me when it get infected first time a year ago...but when it got swollen again this year, it kinda made me think if her condition is okay or not...is it okay to clean it always??
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi! I also have a daughter who has this pit..its on her left ear..before, it doesn't bother me when it get infected first time a year ago...but when it got swollen again this year, it kinda made me think if her condition is okay or not...is it okay to clean it always??
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Avatar_n_tn
by the way my daughter is just 3years old..
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Avatar_m_tn
i just want to share my experience with this preaucular pit. i was born also with this and have been dealing with the constanct swelling and pus that comes out every now and then from that small hole. in 2009 when i while working here in saudi arabia, i decided to have it excised, unfortunately after 3 operations the surgeon is not good enough to remove all the pits inside. and i have to endure a whole year of swelling and pain because the wounds wont heal due to the pus liquid that is being produced by the pit. when i went fro vacation in the philippines in 2010, i decided to take one final shot at it. the doctor explain to me that what i have inside is like a plastic of skin that is why is it undetectable from MRI and xray, i just tell him where i always feel the itchiness and it is where he concentrate in looking this bag of skin. finally the good surgeon have removed everything and now i am free from all the swelling and pain.

i just wanted to help those who have the same problems because i know how hard to maintain this kind of disease. you may contact me in my email add and i can refer you my surgeon in the philippines. jaime_inductivo***@**** is my email add.

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Avatar_n_tn
my mom has one near her forehead...but my bro and  i have it on the cartilage that connects our ears to our heads... i had surgery n i worked out fine.. i had it was a preteen like 13 or soo... now im almost 18...n its fine now....just a lil scar no problems ever since.. so glad i had it done...
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Avatar_m_tn
RE: Ear Pits  
In your message you stated that you try to get the discharge out. #1 you do not need to do that. The most important thing is to avoid touching, massaging or irritating the pit. I have one & I'm now 35. I have learned through experience to never bother it. If it seeps the discharge, gently wipe it clean with a cloth of alcohol. Whenever you see there there are repeat issues, it's because the area is being irriated which can lead to infection. My son, 6yrs old has one above each ear & my 13yr old daughter has one. She bothers it, and when she does within a week, it becomes infected. She has had to have an ENT specialist to relieve it of the pain & pressure caused by the pus 2yrs ago. Trust me, the best way to care for the pit is to leave it be...if it seeps, GENTLY wipe it clean with an alcohol pad. Hope this helps.
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Hi.
Just thought I might be of some assistance. I too was born with ear pits on both ears which were passed to me from my father. My sister and two children also have this anomaly. The discharge can be awful and very embarrassing. I have come up with a treatment that has really helped.
    By inserting the eye end of a large needle (or as large as will fit ) I remove puss or keratin from the holes rinsing in between each removal and dipping in alcohol. Once I have removed as much as I can I fill the eye (of the needle) with hand sanitizer and insert it into the hole. I repeat the process a few times, rinsing off the needle in between each application.
       Next, I fill the eye with neosporin (or any triple antibiotic ointment). This will stop the discharge and smell immediately and will last about a week or longer. Although, I believe with continued treatment it may cure the infection all together. I hope this helps. I have not seen or heard of any successful treatments in terms of surgery. I have been prescribed antibiotics through out my life none of which helped at all. This treatment has brought amazing results. Good luck to you and your daughter. Also has your daughter had any medical problems? Such as breathing, Migraines, hearing difficulties & or ear infections, or excessive vomiting?
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm 52 and clean mine daily in the shower with a soapy  wash rag then I finish up with q-tips in both ears then push a little on it and that's it. With the wash rag I push behind it to get the stuff out and don't usually have a problem. Sometimes it gets a little sore but I keep pushing from behind and it goes away. I wouldn't get rid of it without a fight.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello, my daughter is 7 months, and there is an abscess (size of a pea) next to one of her pits for almost 3 months now. It was opened at cleaned out many times,+ different antibiotics, but the abscess never healed completely. Now doctors suggested surgery, by i'm afraid it won't work, especially if the tissue is infected. Any of you has an idea on how to heal the infection? I heard a lot about draining, but none of the doctors hear ever suggested it, and we already saw plenty of them, what kind of a drain could it be? Could the constant infection become dangerous if we wait to much with the operation? thank you for any answer!
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Avatar_n_tn
My daughter had the same problem when she was a year old. She suffered constant infections for months and went on several antibiotics (some of which she was allergic to which led to other problems). The pit would not stay healed more than 2 weeks following an antibiotic regimen. The ENT recommended surgery which is more dangerous on a younger child he told me because of a main artery that runs down the side of the face and is close to the ear in younger patients. If that artery is cut, the patient will be paralyzed on that side of the face. He also informed me that the surgery becomes even more risky if the infection hasn't healed for at least 2 months. Then I read online about several unsuccessful surgery stories. Not very comforting for a parent having to make a decision that could affect their child for the rest of her life.
I was blessed at the time to have a pediatrician who utilizes both traditional and homeopathic methods of healing. My daughter was put on 3 tiny homeopathic pills (Apis Mel) 2x a day. The pills taste like sugar and dissolve in the mouth so even a small child can take them. She is six years old and has never gotten another infection, nor drainage or oozing.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am a 42 year old woman who also has a preauricular pit on my right ear. I didn't know it actually had a name to it until today. I have asked many doctors over my life time, should i be concern about it but none of them even knew what it was or tried to find out. Over the years it has just been normal routine of extracting the pus every other week so i won't have it discharge on it's own in public because it smells and it just looks nasty. As long as i maintain it like anything else i'm fine.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello,
My 1 and half year daugther has got preauricular sinus problem. she has gone through 4 course of antibiotics in the period of 2 month and now we r afraid of giving another antibiotic. and we also don't want to got for operation/surgery as it is not 100% curable and it may reoccur.
Right now we are applying home remedies to take the pus out.

Could you plz give the refrence of ur doctor.
or tell me the complete thing what you have done to cure ur daughter's problem.
Thanks.
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Avatar_m_tn
How do you extract the pus?
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Avatar_m_tn
can i know who the doctor is?
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Avatar_f_tn
You should find yourself a good homeopath.  I am a homeopath and have treated someone with great success who has  preauricular earpits.  Definitely worth looking into.  Go to the National Center for Homeopathy website and look for recommended homeopaths in your area.  
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Avatar_f_tn
thanks so much for being the only person I could find to post a home remedy. I too have two pits, one on the left is 'active'. Had a crappy ENT supposedly 'remove' it in Del Mar, CA. Don't go to her, forgot her name cynthia something or other...
anyway, it became terribly infected and I was in horrible pain for a week. Once it healed, the discharge was still there.
I'll try this method using colidial silver, and am already taking turmeric and zinc for another cyst problem. turmeric for boils and cysts seems to draw things to a locus, so will see if this helps draw out the pus maybe using a poltice at night under a bandage.
Also like what another poster said about cleaning and squeezing it daily in the shower. will try to remember to do this too.
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Avatar_f_tn
May I have the pd's name n contact no. urgently. My daughter is just 1 1/2 years old n facing the same problem.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi, my 20 months have the same issue with pus forming in the pit and like you I have been releasing it when it appear 'full'. Since your post has been 3 years now, I'm wondering if your daughter's condition has improved or you have taken a different approach.
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Would like to know your Surgeon in the Philippines.i had mine operated in Manila 4yrs ago and just keep coming back.when i moved in the U.S have this problem ever since went to 3 doctors where they don't have an idea about this and one of my plastic surgeon wont even touch it sound scary would like to go back to the Philippines and have this operated again but definately not going back to the same surgeon i had 4yrs ago.Appreciate the help.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi , i am 18, i live in Sydney Australia, i had problems with preauricular sinuses too. i had 3 operations all three were unsuccessful, these things are a massive headache if not taken care of and treated the right ways. If the infections happen to come back again and keep coming back then i would advise you to take Keflex to stop the infections as soon as it starts the first little signs of infections (it helped me alot with stopping the infections). Recently on the 4th of December i had a successful operation done and it is now all cleared up. i advise if you are going to have a operation on this problem, then have it operated by a surgeon that has operated on these problems and make sure he has alot of experience. My last operation was operated by a professor in sinuses and i think that if you live in Australia and are willing to get rid of them problems then you should see this guy.
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Avatar_m_tn
My daughters Dr also told me to drain the pit by simple 'popping' whenever it seems full. It doesn't bother her and I do it daily whenever she is nursing :) He recommended doing this to keep the buildup to a minimum and avoid there becoming a clog. We would not opt for any surgery unless there was a SEVERE problem or infection present.
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Avatar_f_tn
What do do mean by inactive?
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Avatar_f_tn
do you have any ENT recommendation?
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks a lot for posting about Apis Mel.
It worked for my Son.

Thanks a lot once again.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi can you give me the name of this professor in Sydney who successfully operated on your sinus? Many thanks!
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Avatar_m_tn
My daughter's pit did not present a problem until this summer at age 16. It became abscessed, and we've been dealing with the infection since May 12th (now September 13th). The GP didn't know much about it, so after several non successful prescriptions of antibiotics and pain medicine, the pain was so severe we went to the hospital. I can't believe how much junk came out of the incision once it was cut. Surgery to remove the pit/tract is scheduled for Dec., but it can't be performed as long as there is infection, which makes the surgery too difficult to be successful. They want her to be infection free so the site is calm for several weeks before surgery. She has had two hospital admissions and 3 drainage tubes, which because of the scar tissue, can not be done again. The next step is a picc line to get rid of the infection. If you have a child where surgery is the option, I recommend it, because I feel once the infection becomes abscessed, it's nearly impossible to get rid of it. Good luck to anyone making this decision and to the individuals dealing with the pain. My other advice is to insist upon general anesthesia if you don't have health risks.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello, i have been searching for an alternative to surgical removal of the pit as i have had one done less than a month ago and now have an infected sinus again. Could you please give more detail about the Apis Mel your pediatrician suggested? Was it a 6x, 12X or 30X? Any detail would help.
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm 26 years old, and my preauricular pit has been infected since June 2013. I've taken two types of antibiotics, overall 35 pills since then. It stopped being infected for about a month after I took the last pill, and then it started again. I have to drain it every 3 or 4 days.

I'm tired of going to the doctor and prescribed more antibiotics. Does anyone know home made remedies, homeopathic pills or whatever? How did people in the past (before antibiotics were invented) treat such infection?

I know Apis Mel has been suggested, but can anyone provide more details?
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Avatar_f_tn
I know people who have never had problems with their pits, my father and grandfather. At one point in their lives they worked in mucky environments, but I guess their pits were more cosmetic? Unfortunately,  I was born with pits in both ears, both have been infected and I had my left one completely removed as a child. I'm guessing it was done by an experienced surgeon as I have not had any problems with it since. The only reminder that I have of it is a tiny scar hidden behind my hairline and the stitches that my sister kept o.O
My right pit still gives me problems, but it takes just a few seconds to clean it once every few days.
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