How to Lose an Ear

Well over 90% of women (and a lot of men) have their earlobes pierced. It’s safe and easy. And hardly anyone has a problem with earlobe piercing. But in the last decade, women have begun to pierce their ears up high – through the cartilage. High school girls, in particular, like this look.

Posted on | Arthur Perry, MD, FACS | Comments ()

Well over 90% of women (and a lot of men) have their earlobes pierced. It’s safe and easy. And hardly anyone has a problem with earlobe piercing. But in the last decade, women have begun to pierce their ears up high – through the cartilage. High school girls, in particular, like this look.

I’ve had a few patients who got infections after having their cartilage pierced. When bacteria get into cartilage, they eat through it like a dog chomping down hamburger. The entire ear can be destroyed in just a few days.

This problem is devastating and fixing it requires some pretty complex surgery. Cartilage piercing is dangerous because it really doesn’t take much at all to cause an infection.

So my advice, buck the trends and don’t get the cartilage pierced. Pierce the earlobe – once, twice, or whatever your mother lets you do. But stay away from the upper ear.


In other blogs, we'll talk about the dangers of piercing other parts of the body.  

Blog written by Arthur Perry, MD, FACS
Dr. Perry has over 2 decades of experience as a clinical surgeon and has been named to the “Best Doctors in the NY Area” book...