Infected transcartilaginous ear piercings. A case report and review of the literature.

Javier Ignacio Rodríguez Gutiérrez, Natalie Thöne, Josefina Duque Benavides, Rocío Brañes Fierro


Background: transcartilaginous perforations have become a prominent practice among adolescents and young adults in recent years, which are associated with an increased risk of complications since it is frequently performed without sterile technique and by unqualified individuals. The transgression of the integrity of the skin and cartilage of the ear favors infections such as cellulitis, chondritis, perichondritis or abscesses that can cause serious deformities. Methods: we present a clinical case compatible with a perichondritis secondary to ear perforations with three abscesses.
Results: the three abscesses were drained with sterile technique and successfully managed with outpatient antibiotic treatment. In relation to the pathophysiology, the trauma in the auditory pavilion produces the extraction of the adjacent perichondrium, causing devascularization of the cartilage and microfractures, which together with the transgression of the skin, increase the susceptibility to infection. In addition, subpericardial bleeding and inflammatory reaction decrease the blood supply, which limits the immune response and the effectiveness of antibiotics. In some cases, incision and drainage are required. The signs of perichondritis include pain, swelling, and erythema of the skin. Clinically, perichondritis can be differentiated from cellulitis of the pinna, in that the first usually does not involve the earlobe. The fluctuating swelling leads us to an abscess. Conclusions: the administration of broad-spectrum antibiotics should be immediately administered and include coverage for Pseudomonas aeruginosa since it is responsible for the majority of post-perforation cartilage infections (up to 95% of cases). Due to the increase of post-perforation infectious complications, all physicians should be familiar with its diagnosis and treatment.

Palabras clave

ear piercing; perichondritis; transcartilaginous ear perforations; pseudomonas infections.

Texto completo:



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