Piercing of the upper ear can lead to infection and even ear loss, requiring reconstruction.
The recent trend to pierce the upper part of the ear has led to a number of cases of chondritis, an infection of the cartilage. Pseudomonas infection is a common culprit. Chondritis, once established, often causes significant destruction and collapse of the ear. The majority of patients are also smokers.
Total ear reconstruction is sometimes necessary
Piercings of the lobe often elongate and sometimes cut through the lobe, especially when very heavy or base metal earrings are worn. Repair is relatively simple and usually possible under local anaesthetic.
Keloids of the ear sometimes develop at a piercing site. It is normally possible to directly excise the keloid and to keep future scarring at bay with a combination of steroid injection and laser treatment.