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.

What to expect at your health care provider’s office
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.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 4, 2012
by Janet G. Derge, M.D.

Medical Encyclopedia

  A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | 0-9

All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.