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All about Tragus piercing | An ENT surgeon’s perspective

Rihanna’s tragus piercing
Rihanna’s ear piercings

Tragus piercing is in vogue these days. From Rihanna the pop star to your uber cool cousin are sporting this look. What do you need to know about it prior to committing to this decision?

What is tragus?

Tragus is a triangle shaped skin covered cartilage located in front of the ear canal. It partly covers the opening of the ear canal to prevent dust and debris from getting in.

There is very little soft tissue between the skin and the cartilage, thus skin is tightly stuck to cartilage in the ear. 

What is tragus piercing?

It is making a small perforation or a hole through the tragus for the purpose of wearing jewellery.

What are the various methods of tragus piercing?

As an ENT Surgeon I prefer to use sterile surgical instruments after adequate local anaesthesia,  to make the process as pain free as possible for the patient. These include 16G to 18G needles and an autoclaved ear stud of patient’s choice.

Other methods include piercings with guns, hot needles etc.

Is tragus piercing more painful than rest?

Data collected from patients who have had other parts of their ear cartilage pierced it was found that it pains almost the same. However, they complained of hearing a popping sound as the needle went through the cartilage. This could be unnerving for the first timers.

Healing time for tragus piercing?

Healing time for any cartilage piercing is longer than skin and fat piercing. Tragus is a thick cartilage, healing time for this piercing ranges from 4-5 months to a year. 

What are the cons of doing tragus piercing?

  • Cartilage is a relatively avascular (low blood supply) structure, because of which it is prone to scarring, necrosis and infection.
  • Since skin is tightly adherent to the cartilage any infection or fluid build up is extremely painful.
  • Tragus is located in front of the ear canal, which may interfere with earphone use.
  • It’s location makes it susceptible to contact with earwax and debris from the canal.

Piercing aftercare 

Tragus piercing will require a stringent and regular aftercare routine to avoid complications. If you think it’s going to be an issue, you should decide against this piercing.

This article was written by Dr. Akanksha Saxena, Consultant ENT, Head & Neck Surgeon, ENT360. She is a practicing ENT Specialist in Gurgaon with over 10 years of experience. Click here to know more.

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