Perichondrium: What is it? Associated Areas, Layers, Functions and Conditions

It is a dense layer of fibrous connective tissue that covers cartilage in various parts of the body.

Areas covered by the perichondrium

Perichondrial tissue commonly covers the following areas:

  • Elastic cartilage in parts of the ear.
  • Nose.
  • Hyaline cartilage in the larynx.
  • Hyaline cartilage in the trachea.
  • Epiglotis.
  • Area where the ribs connect to the breastbone.
  • Area between the spinal vertebrae.
  • In adults, the perichondrial tissue does not cover the articular cartilage at the joints or where the ligaments attach to bone.

However, in children, the perichondrium can be found in the articular cartilage along with common areas throughout the body. This is the reason why cell regeneration is more likely in children than in adults.


The perichondrium is made of two layers:

  • Outer fibrous layer: This dense connective tissue membrane contains fibroblast cells that produce collagen.
  • Inner chondrogenic layer : This layer contains fibroblast cells that produce chondroblasts and chondrocytes (cartilage cells).


Perichondrial tissue helps protect bones from injury , specifically those that are still growing or developing. As a form of protection, it encourages cell regeneration to reduce recovery time. This is especially true for children, but may not be true for adults.

Its perichondrium fabric also provides elasticity to parts of your body by reducing friction. This can prevent bone damage, injury, and long-term deterioration.

The fibrous nature of the perichondrium tissue allows blood flow to pass easily through your body. This constant blood flow helps distribute the necessary nutrients to strengthen and nourish the cartilage. The fibrous perichondrial tissue also allows oxygen and nutrients to flow unobstructed.

Conditions affecting the perichondrium

Trauma to your cartilage can damage your perichondrial tissue. Common injuries include:

Perichondritis:  This condition causes the tissue of the perichondrium to become inflamed and infected. Insect bites, punctures, or trauma are common causes of this injury.

If you are diagnosed with this condition, you may experience pain, redness, and swelling. In more severe cases, you may develop a fever or collect pus in your lesion. Perichondritis can become a recurring condition. It can be treated with antibiotics.

Cauliflower Ear: This common injury, which often occurs in athletes, causes the ear to swell. Severe trauma or a severe blow to the ear can damage the perichondrium and reduce blood flow. This makes the affected part of your ear look like cauliflower.

Cauliflower ear can be treated with antibiotics or stitches if your doctor removes the blockage to increase steady blood flow.