If your ears are pierced once and you're thinking about getting additional piercings up the ear, you should know serious infection is more likely to occur when you pierce the upper ear cartilage than when you pierce the lobe.
That's the finding of a study in part by the Oregon Health Department after it investigated seven cases of severe infection following upper ear cartilate piercing. Dr. William Keene says the infection is called Pseudomonas, and it's not pretty.
"The ear loses its ability to hold its shape and so the ear kind of crinkles up and becomes quite unsightly, so it is a disfiguring infection. It doesn't effect your hearing, it doesn't effect long term health, but cosmetically, it is quite unfortunate," says William E. Keene, Ph.D., Oregon Deptartment of Human Services.
Dr. Keene also says that cartilage piercing is riskier than getting your ear lobe pierced because a lack of blood to the cartilage makes it more prone to infection, and he warns that while piercing is common, it is still an invasive procedure. So, to at least cut down on your risk, if you want to get pierced, look for places that have well-trained employees, updated equipment, and a sanitary environment.
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