Medical Definition of Piercing

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Piercing: Using a sharp instrument, usually a needle, to make a temporary or permanent hole through an earlobe or other body part. Humans have practiced piercing for body decoration since prehistoric times. Unless it is performed using a sterile needle (preferably disposable), piercing can carry a risk of infection. A piercing should be kept clean; antibiotic cream may be applied if the area becomes inflamed.

See also ear piercing.

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Reviewed on 9/7/2018

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