15-year-old almost loses outer ear after piercing

Doctors perform emergency surgery, save him from amputation of his external ear.

Niv Lin’s ear 370 (photo credit: Kaplan Medical Center)
Niv Lin’s ear 370
(photo credit: Kaplan Medical Center)
A 15-year-old boy who allegedly underwent ear piercing illegally without parental permission suffered severe gangrene and almost lost his earlobe to infection. Doctors at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot performed emergency surgery last week and saved him from amputation of his external ear.
The teen, Niv Lin from Mazkeret Batya, arrived at the hospital with an advanced infection of his left earlobe. Doctors sent him for an urgent operation under general anesthesia to remove gangrenous pieces of cartilage from his ear.
Dr. Hagit Shofel Habakuk, a surgeon in the ear-nose-and-throat department, said that piercing ear cartilage, especially on the upper part of the outer ear, can be very harmful. The infection could have spread to his blood circulation and bones, she said.
“Prevent your children from suffering unnecessary complications,” she urged.
The boy received intravenous antibiotics for several days in an effort to create new cartilage and restore the shape of his outer ear.
His father, Gil, said he and his wife had been on a ski vacation when their son went to have the upper part of his ear pierced. When they returned, they found he had an earring and an extremely swollen ear.
“We were very angry that he did it without our permission; we even went to talk to the young man who did the piercing to tell him he acted illegally,” the boy’s father said.
The family’s health fund physician referred them to Kaplan, where the doctors immediately made a cut to drain out the pus. But a general operation was necessary to stop the spread of gangrene.
Lin told his parents that he had dropped the idea of piercing his ear.
“I went through a very unpleasant experience. I call on other youths not to undergo piercing even if they have to endure social pressure,” he said.
According to a 2004 Knesset amendment, no one may perform piercing of the body (except the lower part of the ear) on anyone under the age of 16 without the parents’ written consent.