A 25-year-old woman presented with an exceedingly tender right ear. She’d had the helix of her ear pierced 3 days prior to presentation and 2 days after that, the ear had become tender. The tenderness was progressively worsening and associated with throbbing pain. The patient, who’d had her ears pierced before, was otherwise in good health and denied fever, chills, or travel outside of the country. She had been going to the gym regularly and took frequent showers. Physical examination revealed an erythematous swollen ear that was tender to the touch (FIGURE). The entire auricle was swollen except for the earlobe. The patient also reported purulent material draining from the helical piercing site.
Erythematous swollen ear
Department of Internal Medicine, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse (Dr. Klawonn); Rensselaer-Albany Medical College Physician Scientist Program, New York (Ms. Helm); Department of Dermatology, Penn State Health Hershey Medical Center, (Dr. Helm)
Richard P. Usatine, MD
University of Texas Health at San Antonio
The authors reported no potential conflict of interest relevant to this article.
The timing of the reaction in this case led us to the proper diagnosis.