Ear piercing: The practice of using a needle or needle gun to make holes through the ear lobe or other parts of the ear so that jewelry can be worn. Ear piercing can result in inflammation and/or infection. Infected ear piercings should be washed and then treated with antibiotic cream. Further treatment involves either allowing the piercing to close or using only nonirritating jewelry (usually gold or hypoallergenic plastic). The likelihood of inflammation and infection is greater for piercings that go through hard cartilage, as found on the side and top of the outer ear, than for the soft bottom lobe of the ear.
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Last Editorial Review: 6/9/2016