Ear Agony

This swollen and uncomfortable looking ear is from a staph infection of unknown origin. Ultimately it resulted in a week of hospitalization while on three simultaneous antibiotics to kill off the very serious infection. A thing to remember about stretched lobes is that they can act like “the canary in the mine shaft” for a lot of people &mdash if you’re getting a cold, your ears may get a little irritated first, and so on. Or in this case, be the rupture point for an infection (hopefully moddoctor will pop in and comment with something less medically amateur).

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by BMEzine.com LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by BMEzine.com LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

73 thoughts on “Ear Agony

  1. i’d love to be kept posted on the progress these ears make healing-wise. being sick seriously pissed off all my piercings last week, included the healed ones, and all i had was a mild flu!

  2. Cellulitis. The biggest problem once staph finds it’s way in between the cells of the dermis is that it can run a pretty good distance. Historically this is what was called blood poisoning.

    Undoubtedly the multiple antibiotics were because they were were worried about resistant strains of bacteria. I’d be interested in seeing the post recovery pictures since these show both the lobes and cartilage to be seriously infected. The recovery in those areas can scar pretty badly.

  3. So was it his ear that GOT infected and then the infection traveled to the red bit on his face, or was it his face and the infection just happened to go “wheeeeeeeee, earlobe?” It’s not clear to me if this is a risk of having big lobes or just “if the rest of you’s unhappy, your lobes will be too.”

  4. Oh wow, I do not even want to think about how much that hurts. How is he supposed to get any sleep when there is no side to sleep on? Even the sides of his face are all red.

  5. OW! His poor ear… his poor cheek.. I would really like to see healed pictures just so I can stop feeling so sorry for him. Damn that has to suck.

  6. My nipple piercings do that sort of thing. Only not all swollen and ruptury and gross and stuff; but if I’m coming down with a cold, my piercings get irritated, and I start attacking my sickness earlier than I’d be able to otherwise. Kinda handy, if you ask me.

  7. Man, that looks like sausage! If someone were to photoshop his lobe out of the above image and onto a plate with some mashed potatoes and didn’t tell me what I was looking at, I’d probably think it looked pretty damn delicious.

    It sounds like the guy got pretty sick and because of his weakened immune system developed a staph infection that spread into his ear, this has absolutley nothing to do with having stretched lobes it could happen to anyone. It seems like it’s the same thing that happened to a co-worker of mine she was bit by a spider on her leg and an infection occured about 6 to 8 inches above the bite got pretty bad too her leg swelled in the area and was dark dark red

  9. Ugh. That looks like it hurts so bad. I hope my ears don’t get that infection. I would hate to lose 1 1/2 inch lobes…

  10. so is moddoctor an actual doctor who is also into mods; or a mod guy who is also int medicine?

  11. Aww, my heart goes out to this guy… Someone should do an interview with him at some point and get an idea of how it all happened, recovery, his ears afterwards, etc. This is one of the most frightening photos of a piercing problem I’ve ever seen.

    (footnote: I know the piercing was not the stem of the problem, but since its affecting it directly, I’d like to know the aftermath)

  12. Does anyone know if this is a common thing that can happen? I mean, how likely is it that a case of staph could get this bad every time a person gets it? I hope I phrased that correctly.

  13. I feel so bad for him. I can’t even imagine what that would be like.
    It’s scary for me seeing this, I have one of those persistent staph infections that causes me to be on antibiotics constantly as a preventitave. I wonder if this could happen to me when/if I am taken off the antobiotics.

  14. man i was feeling so bad about the effect on the mods,but shit an infection so close to the brain is frightning.
    huge mojo from new zealand coming out to ya and post the progress.

  15. *sniff* Oh that poor fellow! I hope it gets better. I’d like to see some recovery images (if there will be any). I hope his recovery goes smoothly.

  16. that really sucks. my ears have had something like that (not that bad..) and around my ears on my cheeks and just behind my ears went all red like that. it really sucks.

  17. “wheeeeeeeee, earlobe?â€? – lmao.

    but OUCH. that would seriously suclk. when i get sick, just below my ears swells and is sore. but not my ears themselves. idk why.

  18. This worries me… I’m getting a bit ill at the moment and my piercings are not happy about it. :(

  19. It’s weird…theres a point halfway between the cartilage and the lobe that looks healthy…n then the rest looks sooo red n swollen…brrr.

  20. Hi! Also to me to have succeeded one similar what after that I have increased of dimension my lobe… fortunately not a lot is aggravated. for a week I have not held the plug and to be recovered! I hope I recover also yours!
    Good luck!

  21. J/#24: Thanks. I figured the infection started on his face, but just thought I’d ask.

  22. ОГО!!!!
    ацкаÑ? Ñ?цукафублÑ?…..
    жеÑ?ть!!!! наши доктора Ñ?разу ухобы отрезали…
    держиÑ?ь чел…

  23. this is truly one of the more gnarly things ive seen in a whiiile. his ear/side of face look so unhappy and swollen and PAINful

  24. this is an erysipelas, a kind of cellulitis, via a little “entry port”, a little opening in the skin (due to his stretched lobes) the staphylococcs that live on everybodies skin enter your body and spreads. In non modified people its often seen on legs in summertime.
    A medical explanation for stretched earlobes predicting your health is : due to the lowered vascularisation, your lobes are more harmful to infections,….

  25. He’s doing fine now other than the obvious loss in lobe size. I know that he’s considereing lobe removal just because of the large disparity in size from right to left.

    The infection started in the lobe and spread to the face in about two days. Hope that clears some of that up.

  26. wow that is so scarey.
    this sort of thing has never happend to me and i hope it never will.
    good luck to anyone that has to deal with this sort of thing.
    sad shit.. :(

  27. #49 wrote: A medical explanation for stretched earlobes predicting your health is : due to the lowered vascularisation, your lobes are more harmful to infections,…

    umm, no. piercings predict the general onset of a cold/the flu because when you’re getting sick, the lymph system kicks in, trying to flush away all the neutrophils that died while fighting the bacterial/viral invasion. and your piercings are a natural exit for the goo. if you look at the lymph system, ducts are found in high concentrations near all the most common places to pierce (ears/neck, nipples/axilla, genitals/groin).

  28. Moddoctor: I understand that staph infections that spread to cartilage are particularly difficult to treat due to the relative lack of blood vessels to carry the antibiotics. I met someone that claimed to have had a years-long struggle trying to deal with a staph infection from an industrial. She was certainly missing cartilage in her ear (she said it had been excised; possibly necrotic?). She also said that the infection wasn’t really “gone”, it was just in remission. The question is, how plausible is this? Are infections that spread to cartilage really as hard to treat as she indicated, or am I more gullible than I think?

  29. got exactly the same last year when i went snowboarding!
    i had 30mm lobes,put my plugs out and my ears healed by them self(and loads of vaseline & isobetadine) but they shrunk like 15mm in a weak!!

  30. i lost one stretched lobe to impetigo, some sort of infection that leaks orange liquid and spread all over the back of my head. i cringe in agony looking at this!

  31. It looks like Methicillin Resistant Staph, and that strain of staph is HARD to treat. Let’s hope it’s not.

    MRSA can be transmitted hand to hand, which is even scarier.

  32. scabboy: ALL staphylococcus can be transmitted hand to hand. It’s a VERY common bacteria found pretty much everywhere on the human body (your skin is covered in it right now)…that’s why they wipe your arm with alcohol before they stick you with a needle – it’s not because the needle is dirty, it’s to prevent what’s ON your arm from getting INTO your arm. and you can’t tell why type of staph it is just by looking at the infection (or even looking at the cocci under a microscope) – it has to be cultured and then tested for sensitivity.

  33. Just happened to me, to a lesser extent, conch piercing 12ga. hurts like hell. Glad I caught it early though!

  34. Ugh, I had cellulitis in my Achilles tendon, and that was terrible and scarry enough! I don’t even want to imagine it in my face! I hope this poor guy heals okay…

  35. It’s cute how some people are saying it’s because he gauged his ear. This could have happened to your ear even without gauging. Just by a simple 18 gauge pierce.

  36. This looks absolutely awful and quite painful. I hope he’s able to get it fixed and healed up. Might require plastic surgery…poor guy.

  37. I’m alive… Didn’t die… Had a friend I worked with at the time cut the excess off and sewed me closed. my ears now don’t look that weird or scarred, unless I state that they were cut way down from a larger size.. this happened from over cleaning, was hospitalized for 2 weeks and was on 6 antibiotics at the same time at one point because they didn’t know what the infection actually was…

  38. I’ve been at 1 inch for two years. No change in the jewelry I’m using and I woke up this morning to my right love swollen, red and painful.

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