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Preauricular tag or pit

Alternative names

Ear tag


An ear tag is a small skin tag or pit in front of the external ear.


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

These are isolated, normal findings in the majority of cases. However, both preauricular tags and pits can be associated with other abnormalities. It is important to point out skin tags or pits to your child's health care provider during the routine well-child examination.

Common Causes

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

Call your health care provider if

This finding is usually discovered by the health care provider during the first well-baby examination . However, if there is bleeding, swelling, or discharge at the site, you should call your health care provider.

The medical history will be obtained and a physical examination performed.

Medical history questions documenting this condition in detail may include:
  • What exactly is the problem (skin tag, pit, or other)?
  • Are both ears affected or only one?
  • What other symptoms are also 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 performed if the usual newborn screening test was not performed.

After seeing your health care provider:
If a diagnosis was made by your health care provider associated with preauricular tags or pits, you may want to note that diagnosis in your personal medical record.

Update Date: 11/10/2003

John Goldenring, M.D., MPH, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital, San Diego, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT