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Beware of Perichondritis! Ear Piercing Can Increase The Risk Of This Infection

Dr. Dhirendra Singh Kushwah 90% (63 ratings)
MBBS, MS - ENT
ENT Specialist, New Delhi  •  18 years experience
Beware of Perichondritis! Ear Piercing Can Increase The Risk Of This Infection

Perichondritis is an infection that occurs in the tissues surrounding the cartilage of the outer ear which provide nourishment to the cartilage. It is also known as auricular Perichondritis. In some cases, the immune system of the body may turn dysfunctional and start to destroy these tissues. Such a medical condition is then known as relapsing Perichondritis.

It is usually caused when the tissues experience trauma. Certain causes are:
1. It may occur after a surgery due to surgical trauma
2. Certain sports injuries
3. Ear piercing increases the risk of this infection
4. Any burn, laceration and cuts around the outer ear
5. If you have untreated ear condition such as swimmer’s ear (infection in the outer canal of the ear)

The symptoms of Perichondritis are:
1. You may experience swelling and redness in the affected area
2. You may have a fever
3. Pus may develop in the affected area
4. In some cases, the ear structure may be deformed
In addition to the above symptoms, relapsing Perichondritis may cause hearing loss, sudden weight loss, pain in your muscles and complications in your respiratory system.

Treatment
The treatment of Perichondritis usually involves antibiotics. Antibiotics are administered depending on the severity of the symptoms. If there is trapped pus involved, then surgery may be required to treat the condition. An incision is made in the affected area and then the pus is drained out. If the infection is extremely severe resulting in deformity of the ear, then parts of the ear might have to be amputated. Plastic surgery may also be used to correct the shape of the ear.

In case of relapsing Perichondritis, certain steroid medications are administered to suppress the immune system to prevent it from attacking the tissues. There are some preventive measures, which you can employ to avoid Perichondritis. Avoid piercing your ear to reduce chances of contracting this infection. Also, if you have conditions such as swimmer’s ear, then make sure it is treated at the earliest. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Ent Specialist.

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