Dr Sonia's ENT

ENT Specialist, Head & Neck Surgeon,Bangalore
Dr Sonia Suprabha Venugopal

ENT Health Articles

Ear Piercing

Posted on July 16, 2010 at 11:17 PM

Ear piercing ,nose piercing and for that matter piercing of any part of the body has to be done with the utmost care and sterile precaution.

Traditional practise in India was to get the family jeweller to pierce the baby's ear amidst much fanfare and celebration.Nowadays with awareness of the risks involved people are gravitating towards more scientific and safer approaches in ear piercing and nose piercing.

How do I decide where, when and how to do a ear piercing?

Since getting your or your child's ear pierced is something which is undertaken after much deliberation and thought it is nice to have some inside knowledge about the trends, methods and risks involved in such a procedure.

When should an ear piercing be done?

Here are some key points to guide you when to have an ear piercing done.

  • Children should not have their ear pierced on a day when they are sick or having fever.
  • Do not pierce your or your child's ears during the time of any rashes on the skin
  • Avoid clubbing a vaccination and an ear piercing on the same day
  • Do not pierce the ears at the time of an outer ear infection- always get specific clearance from your ENT Specialist in such a case
  • Traditional customs: In India many customs dictate a specific time or "muhurtham" for an ear piercing and we get many patients requesting for piercing the child's ear at such and such a time- In case of any such specific timings do contact Dr Sonia in advance so that scheduling can be done accordingly.
  • Age:There is no particular age for the ear piercing to be done.Anyone from birth to 99years and beyond can have their ears pierced.

Where should an ear piercing be done?

Even nowadays I see ear piercing being done on the streets [even in the streets of Bangalore our Hitech City !] in India.

Ideally it should be done in the aseptic and clean environs of a doctor's procedure room by a qualified medical personnel who is well versed in the techniques of disinfection and sterile techniques.

Doctors recommendation is to get your ear pierced by a qualified doctor.

Which speciality doctor should do the ear piercing?

ENT Surgeons are most experienced in this respect and the obvious answer is to have your or your child's ears pierced by the ENT Doctor

However some pediatricians are experienced in this respect and if your regular Pediatrician does ear piercing on a routine basis there is no harm in having your childs ears pierced by him or her

Tradition plays a big role especially in a tradtional culture such as the Indian one- your grandmother may recommend the famliy jeweller but before humouring her do give careful consideration to the risks you are putting your child into.

We do not recommend ear piercing in

  • the beauty parlour[ most beauty parlours do not have sterilising or disinfecting equipment and are not familiar or aware of proper sterilisation techniques]
  • jewellery shops [face it the jewellers role is to sell ear rings, nose rings etc and will not have the knowledge or the facilities for disinfection and aseptic techniques]
  • Streets-NEVER NEVER have an ear piercing on the street or local mall shop!- there are upteem number of diseases you can pick up from  infection to tetanus, Hepatitis B,Hepatitis C and HIV[AIDS]

Many ear piercings done in beauty parlours,jewellery shops go without complications but a good % do end up in the ENT doctor's consultation room subsequently with infection as a result of ear piercing in such a set up.

How is ear piercing done ?

There are 2 main methods of ear piercing

  • Manual Piercing - this is a more painful ,bloodier affair and hardly recommended in the modern ENT Surgeon's practise
  • Automated Gunshot Piercing-This is the easiest,quickest and modern techinique popular nowadays.It is the method of choice in adults and children due to its efficiency and safety.

Various types of gun shot body piercing devices are available. Pediatric as well as adult attachments and a variety of ear studs  choices are available.

You do not have to bring the ear rings from home as sterile specially designed ear rings are used in the ear piercing.Your ENT Doctor will show you a selection of earrings and you may choose the one to your liking.Dr Sonia recommends that if your child is old enough to allow her to choose the ear ring or nose ring as it gives the child a lot of happiness!

A local anaesthetic cream may have been prescribed by Dr Sonia for application some time before th procedure for a completely painless ear piercing.

The ear piercing site is decided upon in consultation with the ENT Doctor

The area to be pierced is disinfected

A local anaesthetic spray is used to anaesthetise to skin

Your child may be comfortable seated on your lap.

Young children and babies are held immobile to ensure acurate positioning of the ear ring

The Gun shot device is loaded  with the  ear ring by the Doctor

Ear piercing is done in a fraction of a second in a precise, controlled ,aseptic and painless manner

What other points should I know about ear piercing?

  • If you have an allergy to metals discuss this with your ENT Doctor before hand
  • If your child suffers from atopic dermatitis or eczema or atopy [allergic tendency]discuss with Dr Sonia the special care involved in such a case
  • It is best to be up to date on your tetanus injections before any procedure [This is being mentioned here to create a health awareness about the general health measures]
  • Always mention to your ENT Doctor if you have any knowm allergy to any medications
  • If you are having your ear pierced after a lobuloplasty [ear lobe repair for torn ear lobe or large ear ring hole]discuss with Dr Sonia the best site to have the new ear ring placed

What should I do to have my Baby's or child's ear pierced?

In addition to the above discussio,n additional points once you have set a date for the ear piercing:-

  • Have an appointment with the ENT Doctor- Choose a time when the doctor is less busy and you are not rushed for time-this ensures an overall relaxed attitude
  • Avoid having a hungry, angry baby at the time of ear piercing- there is no contraindication to feeding your baby or child before the procedure
  • Have your baby dressed in comfortable clothes
  • Bring along a favourite toy
  • Explain to your older child what is going to be done so that your child knows what to expect and is not unduly anxious.You may explain she is going to look pretty and beautiful and that the actual ear piercing will be felt like a small ant bite.Explain that she or he has to stay still and that it takes only a few seconds.
  • Have an idea of where you want the ear ring placed- there is a lot of variation in individual desires.Someone may want it in the centre, someone may want it higher up or lower in the ear lobule. Some people like to have multiple ear rings on the helix of the ear[ rim of the ear is a popular site for 2nd 3rd and 4th ear rings].Though many times our ears are not strictly similar in shape and size it is nice to pay some attention to symmetrical positioning of the ear rings- so give this some thought when marking out the site.Your ENT Surgeon can guide you in deciding the spot to pierce the ears
  • Clear any doubts you may have [eg if your child has atopy, allergy,fever, a vaccination scheduled etc]

Can my child or myself wear our own ear rings?

Yes you can wear your own ear rings 2 weeks after the ear piercing. It is preferable to wear a gold ear ring if this is a first time ear piercing so as to ensure no metal allergic reaction occurs.

What are the precautions after ear piercing?

Do not use dettol or strong detergents to clean the ears

Gently apply the medicated ointment prescribed by Dr Sonia as advised

Rotate the earring every day as instructed by Dr Sonia

Change to a normal, preferably gold ear ring after 2 weeks

Changing is easy and can be done after 2 weeks.In young babies you may change the ear ring when the baby is sleeping to make is easier and quicker.

The ear ring used should be clean and changed with clean hands.

Do not remove the ear  ring and leave the hole open before 2 weeks as there is chance that the hole can close up.

Do not use broom sticks or other sticks in the ear ring hole.

Contact Dr Sonia in case of any doubt or clarification

Categories: Ear , Paediatric ENT, Ear Piercing