Relapsing polychondritis (RP) is a relatively rare rheumatic condition of unknown aetiology. It is characterized by recurrent episodic inflammation of cartilaginous structures (nose, ear and trachea). The clinical diagnosis of polychondritis can frequently be made with confidence in the absence of histological confirmation. A 61-year-old diabetic man, with bilateral relapsing aural inflammation, left ear deafness with tinnitus and pain at the sternocostal junctions is reported. After clinical diagnosis of relapsing polychondritis steroid therapy was started. An ear cartilage biopsy was performed confirming the clinical diagnosis. Subsequently soft tissue infection occurred at the operation site. The abscess was drained and oral ciprofloxacin was given with complete resolution of the infection over 30 days. As the infection is the main cause of death in these patients, we analyse whether biopsy is absolutely necessary for the diagnosis of RP in some patients.