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Am J Otolaryngol. 1998 Sep-Oct;19(5):305-10.

Comparison between cartilage and soft tissue ear piercing complications.

Author information

1
Department of Otolaryngology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Despite growing interest in cosmetic piercing, a detailed evaluation of associated medical complications is lacking.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

A questionnaire addressing ear, nose, and other body parts piercing was anonymously presented to 1,000 nurses at a major Midwestern teaching hospital, and responses were obtained from 552.

RESULTS:

One hundred sixty (35%) of the 452 nurses who had an ear pierced reported a complication. Three hundred fifty-five (30%) of the 1,200 total pierced sites developed complications that included minor infection (77%), allergic reaction (43%), keloid (2.5%), and traumatic tear (2.5%). The complication rate from piercing through cartilage (32%) was not significantly different from that found when piercing through soft tissue (29%). The type of complications experienced differed in frequency between cartilage and soft tissue, with minor infection being more prevalent in cartilage piercing (30% v 21%; P < .10) and allergic reaction found more frequently in soft tissue piercings (13% v 4%; P < .025).

CONCLUSION:

This study identifies a low prevalence of major complications (<1%) and a relatively high prevalence of minor complications (30%) associated with ear piercing. The expected increase in complications and morbidity of piercing through cartilage was not found in this study.

PMID:
9758178
DOI:
10.1016/s0196-0709(98)90003-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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