I've had my cartilage pierced for three years. I've always had a standard earring in,I put in a new thicker hoop and now my ear is very swollen and the swelling has spread to my neck and face. What's wrong with it and what do I do?


2 Answers

Yo Kass Profile
Yo Kass , used to have lots of piercings, answered

Bad news. You need to take it out at once!

If the swelling has spread, this is likely a sign of infection. You don't want to mess around with infections around your head, neck and main arteries, as they could have serious consequences.

Unfortunately, it's bad news for your piercing too. Cartilage piercings are notoriously bad healers because they don't receive as much blood flow as other piercings such as the lobe.

That's why, even though you've had the piercing in for 3 years, the change of hoop probably let some bacteria into your body, and this caused the complication you're dealing with now.

I had a similar experience.

Back when I was young and trendy (there was a time), I had a stud through my cartilage and wanted to link it up to another piercing using a "scaffold".

I looked awesome for a while, but I guess the continuous movement that a bar like that would involve meant the piercing never fully healed, and was susceptible to infection.

My ear started swelling up and becoming uncomfortable, so I decided to take it out and let it heal.

Unfortunately, I also developed some scar tissue around the healed area, and this meant I couldn't have it re-pierced once the infection died down.

You also need to be careful with multiple cartilage piercings, as I've heard horror stories of the cartilage splintering or shattering inside the ear!

All in all, it sucks to lose a piercing. But you can always get something else pierced instead to replace it...

When I had to lose my scaffold, I got my bridge pierced instead:

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Becky Jackson
Becky Jackson commented
So I should just take it out and leave it to heal its self?
Yo Kass
Yo Kass commented
To be honest, if it had been early on, with only swelling or discomfort around the ear, I would have said leave the piercing in and clean it regularly with a hot water and sea salt solution

But now that it has started spreading, I think it's best to get some advice from a medical professional...

The reason is because I'm not really qualified to make a medical judgement like this (neither is a professional piercer either btw) - and a serious infection could turn into toxic shock syndrome (a serious infection caused by bacterial toxins) if it goes untreated.

Not trying to scare you, just want you to be aware of the worst case scenario... Would it be possible for you to visit a doctor for this?
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered

How did this turn out? I have the same problem with my cartilidge piercing and i need to know pleeeease

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