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Physical & Sexual Health A forum for peer support and informal advice on matters related to physical and sexual health. This forum is not to be used as a place to obtain a diagnosis on an issue or as a replacement for professional consultations with approved medical practitioners.

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Old 25th Oct 2009, 02:56 PM   #1
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Ear Cartilage: keloid, irritation, infection, 'shattered' or normal?

So I've had a good look on here if this has been an issue and it hasn't, bar one from 2007 which didn't ask what I'm going to ask exactly.

I got my right cartilage done two months ago at a reputable place in town. The chap used a gun for it (okay, alarm bells going already, I'll address it in a second) I cleaned it daily with the antibacterial cleanser I was given (active ingredients: Isopropyl Alcohol BP and Chlorhexidine Acetate BP if those mean anything to anyone) and twisted it around, standard practise really. I didn't fiddle and didn't (couldn't!) sleep on it for about a week. I tried not to catch it on tops, brushing and glasses etc. It was all going pretty well untill I changed the steel stud to a gold one after four/five weeks. And I noticed a lump around the hole, both front and back, as show below. I've not prodded it, and just kept cleaning it and it's still there after these few weeks. It's slightly painful, but doesn't feel hot to the touch.


I did my homework before I had it done to find out how it's done, healing time, tips and common problems etc. Thing is the more I looked, the less conclusive any of this sounded; guns do 'shatter' the cartilage, they don't they just carry more chance of infection; the infamous 'bump' is usual and goes away, the 'bump' is scar tissue keloid; keloids are beasts, you'd know if you had one; the 'bump' is just displaced cartilage from being punched through with a gun...

Basically, I don't think this is a keloid, having seen some pretty horrendous pictures, but I don't know whether this is normal, is this the normal 'bump'? Did I change it too early? Got something stuck in the piercing? Have I buggered up my cartilage?

I know lots of ECers have had cartilage done, so anyone recognise what it is?
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Old 26th Oct 2009, 04:46 AM   #2
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Re: Ear Cartilage: keloid, irritation, infection, 'shattered' or normal?

It looks like a hypertrophic scar. It's not really large enough to be considered a keloid.

What has happened is that when you pierced the cartilage, your body immediately started to try to repair it. In the process of repairing it, something is triggered that causes the body to get a bit carried away with forming the scar.

Some people and some ethnic groups are very prone to hypertrophic scarring and keloiding. Cuts on the upper arms and chest seem to prone. Out of curiosity, when you get cuts and other tears in your skin, does it heal normally (flat) or do you form irregular, bumpy scars?
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Old 26th Oct 2009, 07:35 AM   #3
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Re: Ear Cartilage: keloid, irritation, infection, 'shattered' or normal?

I can't say I've gotten irregular scars at all, just the usual slightly dark ones that fade to white over time. When I get cuts, often cat-scratches from my two little devils, they heal normally and within a week. I've read keloids, and clearly hypertrophic scars, are more likely to happen in cartilage tissue due to the lack of blood supply, so I'm guessing that's just what's happened?

Will this reduce in size over time or is there something a doctor can do to remove it? Is it worth taking out the piercing, letting it heal and then repierce with a needle?
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Old 26th Oct 2009, 03:15 PM   #4
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Re: Ear Cartilage: keloid, irritation, infection, 'shattered' or normal?

The reason that I ask about your normal healing is to determine if you are prone to keloids. Since it has been two months, there is the possibility that this could continue to grow and form a keloid.

Since it sounds like you aren't prone to keloids, more than likely it is just a hypertrophic scar.

I'd recommend that you remove the piercing and let it heal. There's some evidence that you can reduce the scar with salt-water soaks and anti-scarring bacterial ointment or anti-scarring creme (in the US, the brand name is Mederma). If you don't see an improvement in a couple of weeks of self-treatment, then you should see a dermatologist to see if anything else can be done to help it heal and reduce the size of the scar.
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Old 26th Oct 2009, 04:40 PM   #5
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Re: Ear Cartilage: keloid, irritation, infection, 'shattered' or normal?

Thanks for that KB, really helpful. I'll see in the next week or two what's happening with the scar and if it seems to be growing I'll take the piercing out. I plan to pop along the GP at some point to see what she thinks, as she's doubtlessly seen this a lot.
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Old 26th Oct 2009, 06:55 PM   #6
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Re: Ear Cartilage: keloid, irritation, infection, 'shattered' or normal?

By the way, after your remove the piercing watch for any signs of infection- warmth, redness, tenderness or a discolored drainage. If you see any of these signs, you should see your doctor immediately.
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Old 27th Oct 2009, 07:57 AM   #7
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Re: Ear Cartilage: keloid, irritation, infection, 'shattered' or normal?

Yup makes sense, since it'll be an open wound. Thanks
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