Huge growths form on woman's ears after piercings become infected

Huge growths form on woman's ears after piercings become infected

The popularity of body modification has grown exponentially in recent years. Gone are the days when piercings and tattoos were reserved for society's perceived 'underclass'. Now, 36% of Americans between 18 and 29 have a tattoo.

However, as anyone who has ever had a modification will tell you, aftercare is of the utmost importance if it is to look its best. Case in point, 29-year-old Jennifer, from Philidelphia, who had the fairly innocuous modification of ear piercing 11 years ago.

But, as is the case for some people with fresh piercings, either through poor aftercare, the procedure itself, or just bad luck, her piercings became infected and she was left with gigantic growths on her ears.

Growths on a woman's ears. Credit: Julia Banim

After seeking medical advice, Jennifer was told that her situation was hopeless and that she would have no option but to live with the growths. So, desperate for a solution and fearing their continued growth, she sought the advice of Dr. Sandra Lee (better known as Dr. Pimple Popper).

In an interview at Dr. Lee's clinic, cited by The Sun, Jennifer said:

"They are incredibly painful and incredibly heavy. They cause headaches. I'm worried they are going to get bigger… I worry about being ridiculed and mocked."

Related: This man was left with growth all over his body that left him looking like a human tree.

The 29-year-old was subsequently diagnosed with extreme keloids. Growths on the skin which can be caused by minor damage - and are relatively common in people who have had piercings, albeit not to the extent of Jennifer's.

A growth on a woman's ear. Credit: TLC

According to British medical body, the NHS, keloid scars can form any time after the skin is damaged, sometimes as long as years, and while it is possible for them to disappear on their own, they can be permanent.

Dr. Lee subsequently removed Jennifer's keloids, warning her that they could grow back and that her ears would likely be damaged as a result. This proved to be true and the doctor was forced to remove more of the 29-year-old's left ear than planned.

Prior to the surgery, the 29-year-old hid her ears with a headband:

A woman wearing a headband. Credit: TLC

Once removed, Jennifer's keloids were weighed, coming in at 28g and were described by the doctor as the biggest she'd ever seen:

"They're probably the biggest keloids I've ever seen, I had to take off more of the ear than expected. After removal, the four keloids weighed nearly 14 ounces (28g)."

To reduce the risk of Jennifer's keloids growing back, she is now having radiation therapy.

Explaining what life is like without the growths, she said: "Everything has changed for the better. No more headaches, no more vertigo. I don’t need to hide. Dr. Lee gave me a future. She pretty much saved me."