The term fistula auris congenita refers to a small sinus of the external ear, opening most commonly at the anterior border of the ascending limb of the helix (fig. 1). This aberration of development is of interest to the embryologist because of the different views that have been advanced concerning its origin. Its clinical significance lies in the fact that it can give rise to an offensive discharge, form a retention cyst or become infected. Infection of the fistula may result in a secondary lesion of the face in front of the ear which so dominates the clinical picture that the fistula itself may be overlooked. Prolonged, unsuccessful treatment of the secondary lesion through failure to recognize the relation of the lesion of the face to an aural fistula has been reported.
Fistula auris congenita was first described by Heusinger1 in 1864. A voluminous German literature has since arisen.