• 93,701 / 1,385,118
  • 20 / 10,234
  • 9,294 / 54,915

The Ear Castration Diaries (a.k.a. Tying Off My Blow-Out)

As the title suggests, this is a diary. It starts by explaining the problem, and the plan to fix it. Then the diary part begins and I give a play-by-play of tying off my blow-out, updated several times a day (this became a pet project). When researching this procedure, I had some major problems finding information, so I'm trying to make this as helpful as possible. While I can't say that everything I did was right, or that what I did is the easiest way, I can give honest information about how my procedure worked for me (or didn't work). Plus, on top of writing what I did, how it felt, and the affect it had, I also added fun concerns and questions that came up. IAM users, check out my page for an entire gallery of images from the beginning to end. I took well over a hundred photos and chose the best to post, and send to BME. You'll notice a drastic improvement in the pictures toward the end, once I figure how to use my digital camera. Have fun, and feel free to e-mail or IM me if you have any questions!

My Blow Out

A piercing blow-out is a disgusting and uncomfortable thing to have. It happens when a piercing is stretched too quickly. What happens is, the pressure of the jewellery shoves the fistula (the healed tunnel of skin that connects either side of the piercing) out of the piercing hole. This creates a flap of skin, known as a blow-out. The blow out quickly turns into a hard mass of scar tissue. Blow-outs can be uncomfortable, they also inhibit the ability to stretch further, and limit the amount of jewellery you can wear.

When I stretched my well healed 0ga lobes to 00ga, and then 7/16", I did it too quickly, with improper jewellery and caused some major damage to my left lobe (my right lobe managed to stretch nicely). I gave myself a lovely blow-out. It took me a few hours to realize that I had blown out the fistula, and about a day to admit that I had a real problem. As soon as I got over the denial, I went back down to a 0ga and began massaging my ears faithfully. I massaged that bugger back into my ear with a few weeks of persistence. I was very relieved, although my left lobe had accumulated quite a bit of scar tissue, even if it wasn't in the form of a blow-out.

Because my blow-out was gone, I figured I was safe to stretch. As soon as I did, the blow-out returned. This part of the story is hard to write about because it was painfully stupid on my part. First of all, I had no business stretching a piercing with that much scar tissue, especially because it had been blown out just a few weeks before. I really should have given myself more time. On top of that, I should have taken care of it. I decided (only because I'm hopelessly stubborn and impatient) that it wouldn't matter what I did because my ear would simply blow out every time I tried to stretch it anyway. I decided to stretch up to a half inch (that was my goal at the time) and THEN take care of the scar tissue and blow-out.

What a plan THAT was...

By the time I reached my 1/2", the blow-out was huge, and the scar tissue was like a rock in my ear. I took up massaging my blow-out twice a day with vitamin e oil. I suppose I massaged for about 15 minutes each time, but that's approximate. I would just keep going until my hand cramped up so I couldn't anymore, then I'd switch hands and cramp the other one. Well, it didn't change a damn thing. I kept it up, hoping that it would magically fix my messed up ear, even though at this point the blow-out wasn't actually bothering me.

The Decision To Tie Off

Eventually, the blow-out did start to bother me though, and the massages weren't doing a thing. First, I spent a whole lot of money on nice tunnels, which I could only fit in my right ear. They were only ¼" wide. I couldn't get the backing on the left one because that ear was at least 3/8" wide (FYI, by 'wide' I mean the length from front to back).

The wasted money was irritating, but nothing compared to what happened with my next pair of earrings. I bought wooden plugs with slightly flared ends. They were just about long enough. I wore them for a few weeks with very few problems. Occasionally my fat blow-out ear would suck the earring in part way. This just looked a bit funny, and wasn't uncomfortable. However, after a couple weeks, it started doing it non-stop. I couldn't keep the jewellery in place. Not only that, but the flared edge, which was now forced to sit inside my piercing, pressed against the fistula and eventually cut it.

This was so painful that I immediately went to find some new earrings (I mean immediately too- I skipped school the morning it happened!). The only problem was, my requirements were very specific. The jewellery couldn't be flared, a tunnel, or too short in length. All I could find were some acrylic plugs. They were a good ½" wide so I figured they'd be fine. I should mention here that I have a horrible allergy to acrylic, and if I could have found anything else, I would definitely have gotten it. No such luck. I put in my acrylic plugs and was relieved to find that they were long enough to accommodate all the scar tissue. Then the allergy kicked in and the swelling started. Not only did this itch like a motherfucker, cause my ears to blister and peel, and give me a rash behind both ears and down my neck, but it also made my ear swell to the point where the ½" was barely wide enough. The o-rings were pressed tight against either side of the piercing. My lovely blow out actually started to swallow the o-ring.

I knew I couldn't continue living in misery. I HAD to get rid of the blow out. It was either that, or remove my jewellery. I couldn't imagine the pain of giving up my stretched lobes, so I decided to tie off my blow out. I had tried other methods, and nothing was working. It was my last resort.

I went down to see Matt Cottrell at Planet Ink (Ottawa, ON) to get a bit of advice and his two cents. He has almost nine years experience piercing and definitely knows his stuff. He pierced my hood not long ago, and I was so impressed with his knowledge and professionalism that I knew he could help. He explained the tying off method as 'the way they castrate a pig's testicles'. Basically, tying off consists of wrapping a thread (I used dental floss, fishing line is another popular choice) around the blow-out, cutting off the circulation and causing that part to die. The necrotic (dead) tissue will either fall off or you can have it cut off. Matt gave me instructions, and told me if I had any problems to bring my dental floss to him and he'd do it for me.

Naturally, I went home and researched castration. I hadn't had much luck finding info about tying off blow outs, but there was no shortage of information on eunuchs, and the methods for destroying testicles. Well, this honestly just scared the crap out of me. I read everything I could and it told me many things I already knew, but also some fun facts that I hadn't realized. When a part of the body is unable to obtain blood, something called dry gangrene sets in. This is natural, and there is very little risk to it. The skin shrivels and dies, then eventually falls off. It is the most common way of castrating both animals (in the vet world) and humans.

The scary part is that, although this can generally be considered safe, there is a chance for blood poisoning (sepsis) to set in. While the risk is minimal, and was probably only included in the encyclopaedia entry because it could possibly happen, it still really concerned me. I have my share of piercings, and have done my research, but I'm still rather inexperienced. I was very worried, but everybody has to learn sometime. I couldn't live with the blow out and I wasn't going to let the slight risk of fatal complications hold me back! I logged off to find some dental floss, and my little sister.

Day One (Sunday, October 31st)

I couldn't tie the knot myself because of where it needed to be, so I had my sister wrap the dental floss around my blow-out. I wasn't entirely sure how tight it should be, so I told her to keep tightening it until I told her to stop. As she pulled the knot I started to realize how uncomfortable this procedure was going to be. Once the pain got to be almost unbearable, I told her it was tight enough. Immediately it began a nice burning, throbbing feeling. At first I was concerned that it was too tight. After a few minutes I became concerned that it wasn't tight enough. Eventually, I decided it was alright for my first time. Tomorrow I may decide to do it tighter, but for now it was fine.

After tying off the blow-out I went to check out BME. I had already searched for everything I could find that might help me, and submitted a question to the QOD, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to read everything over again. Well, this just scared the crap out of me. For some reason Dry Gangrene sounds so much worse when you're forcing it on your ear. Also, the possibility of fatal blood poisoning really worried me (give me a break- it was late...). Once again, that was probably only added because it is possible, although still horribly unlikely.

Sleeping was slightly uncomfortable because I like to sleep on my left side. However, it wasn't really much more painful than it would have been because of my allergy to the jewellery.

Day Two (Monday, November 1st)

I wasn't sure what I should do this morning... I wasn't sure if I should try to wash it, or replace the dental floss so I did nothing but rinse the crusties off my neck. I went to see Matt after school to see if it looked all right. Apparently, my sister did an excellent job. It was tight enough to start with. Matt told me to leave the dental floss on unless it broke, and clean it in the shower like I normally would. We would tighten it in a day or two.

Just before bed I pulled my ear forward to check out the blow out. The colour is a dark pinkish-purple (just the kind of colour you would expect), and the edges of the blow out (my blow out doesn't cover the entire hole, just the bottom half of it) where the dental floss crosses back onto the jewellery has become bloody and looks as if the floss is cutting into it. I'm not entire sure if that's what it supposed to be doing but it looks okay. Unfortunately, while I was fooling around with it, I accidentally pulled the dental floss off (!!!). I woke up my sister and got her to tie it back on. I'm not sure if she did it about as tight as it had been before. I basically just let her do what she wanted because she was really sick and delusional (the next day she didn't even remember doing it). All day my ear has had a slight achy feeling, and every few minutes I get a sharper pain. It's really not half bad, and it's easy to just forget about.

Day Three (Tuesday, November 2nd)

This morning in the shower I cleaned my ear (jewellery, dental floss, and all) with Spectro Jel. It went just fine. It was kind of nice to get rid of the blood and crusties, and clean up my rash a bit. Unfortunately, I accidentally pulled off the dental floss. I couldn't force myself to wake up my poor sick little sister again. So I tried myself. It took me a good five or ten minutes, but eventually I managed to get the dental floss knotted on there.

Day Four (Wednesday, November 3rd)

Today the pain wasn't bad at all. I barely felt the thing all day unless I bumped it on something or took off my hoodie too fast. It's still an itchy pain in the ass because of my acrylic allergy, but that has nothing to do with the blow-out.

The two sides where the blow out is beginning to separate from my ear are getting clearer. There is now a fair sized crusty flap on either side. I managed to get a half decent picture of it too (see my IAM page). I think the dental floss needs to be tightened a fair bit. The blow-out is dark reddish, but I think it should look more purple. I'm supposed to check in with Matt tomorrow anyway. If I can't get a bit tighter on there, I'll let him take care of it then.

I got a new piece of dental floss and put it on as tight as I could manage. I'm getting better at tying knots on the back of my own ear. However, the floss could still have been tighter. I'm sort of glad that it wasn't any tighter though, because it hurt like a bitch. As soon as I put the new floss on there, my blow-out turned purple (no kidding- purple!), and my ear started throbbing and stinging and stuff. It kept that up all evening and into the night, though the colour of my blow-out became more pinkish as the night went on.

Something interesting occurred to me today. I will be very interested to see if removing the blow-out results in more scar tissue formation on my lobe. No doubt, this procedure is very traumatic for my poor ear. While the idea is to remove the extra tissue, I would not be surprised if more forms. Hopefully, if it does, it won't be in blow-out form (so I can wear jewellery that I'm NOT allergic to) and it will be easy to get rid of with traditional soaks, compresses, and vitamin e massages. Thank goodness all this hideous stuff is going on behind my ear. I can't imagine what my parents would say if they saw it. I showed my guidance counsellor today and I thought she was going to puke. I guess she shouldn't ask so many questions. J

Day Five (Thursday, November 4th)

Today when I woke up, my ear and neck were covered in crusted puss. It was worse than any other time so far, and seriously gross. In the shower I cleaned my ear and neck with Spectro Jel like normal. After my shower I pulled off my o-rings (one at a time) and cleaned my ear more thoroughly. I think that was a good idea because all sorts of lymph and junk had built up between the o-ring and my ear. Man, did it smell! I'm not talking ear cheese, either. I don't mind the smell of ear cheese, actually, I almost like it. But, there was an absolutely awful stench coming from my left ear. I wouldn't be shocked to find that it's infected.

I have been trying all sorts of creams to ease the extreme itching from my allergy. Today I did a quick vitamin e massage on my right ear (the one without the blow-out) and rubbed in on my rash too. I'm finally itch free! I tried to treat the left ear too but it was difficult because I couldn't remove the jewellery. If I could just fix the itching on my left ear, I'm sure I wouldn't pick and scratch at it so much. I'm sure that would be good...

Tonight after work I went down to see Matt. He looked at my ear and told me that everything was looking fine and to keep it up. He said he could see the tissue dying like it should. So... I'm doing everything right. It's nice to have reassurance.

What Matt said tonight actually sort of struck me. The tissue is dying. I have cut off the flow of blood to that section of my body and it is going to die. The term "dying" just makes it seem to extreme... I thought about it for the whole bus ride home. I think I now know what it truly means to modify your body. That chunk is going to die and be gone forever. I'm so hardcore.

I'm starting to wonder when my ear is going to actually DO something. Granted, it hurts, and it's pretty gross. But I really wouldn't have expected it to take so long. I think maybe the floss needs to be tighter, to just cut off blood flow, and do the job. From the colour of my ear I can tell that it's still getting some blood, and it smells like infection. I'm not so sure that's a good sign. Maybe I should just get someone to tie it up as tight as possible and just kill the bugger?

Day Six (Friday, November 5th)

Today was pretty standard. Sleeping was the same as it has been. My ear feels the same. I washed it with Spectro Jel and added a tighter piece of dental floss. It throbbed and stung for a bit then ebbed into a dull ache. Nothing new or exciting, really...

Tonight my ear was itching like a bitch! I'm pretty sure it's just the jewellery allergy but it was driving me nuts! I did a salt soak and thankfully it eased the itching for a while. After that I was looking at it closely. The blow-out has really wrapped itself around that o-ring. Before I even tied it off the blow-out was trying to gobble up the o-ring, and doing a pretty good job of it. Now it's definitely sucking the o-ring right in, but there isn't a whole lot I can do. My only comfort comes from knowing that because of where it's tied off, the part that is swallowing the o-ring is also the part that will soon die and fall right off. I don't think this will be a problem, but it sure does look gross.

After my salt soak I wrapped another piece of dental floss on, without removing the old stuff again. This means I have three layers of crusty floss on my ear. That is somewhat concerning, but it's tied on so tightly it's impossible to cut off... Besides, the more floss on there, the better a job it'll do... right? I actually went around my ear a few times with the floss and tried to get it as tight as I possibly could. Unfortunately, that's easier said then done. I'm getting better at it, but it's still not easy tying the knot on the back of my ear.

Day Seven (Saturday)

Today was fairly standard. I cleaned it like normal and didn't tighten the string any. It's really starting to look like it's dying now. It smells gross.

My poor mom saw it tonight. She was absolutely horrified, although I don't think she got a very good look at it. She demanded to know what it was so I just told her about the allergy to my jewellery. I know she didn't believe it- I wouldn't have either. My ear is fucking gross. She just thinks I'm stretching it more. Whenever I get new earrings she thinks I've stretched them again.

My ear was fine all day until the evening. It went through a bit of trauma in the form of me lying on that side for a really, really long time. It leaked a lot of pus.

Day Eight (Sunday)

My ear, neck, and hair (ew!) were all crusty when I woke up today. Jesus Murphy, this is not healthy! It reeks, itches like you wouldn't believe and there is an absolutely disgusting build up of lymph all around the hole- back and front. I did another salt soak because I discovered that it does wonders for the itching, which makes me feel like I'm doing something for my poor ear. I'm trying my best not to pick at it but it's so crusty I'm having a difficult time! (FYI; detached lobe + puss between neck and lobe = angry soreness).

I'm going to see Matt today. I want to know what the hell I've done to myself. I'm getting a little worried about this. My ear looks really bad, it feels bad and it smells horrible. I just want this to be over. This is an absolutely horrendous process and I strongly encourage everyone reading to try everything else that they possibly can before they turn to tying off. I know that in the end it will be worth it. I had no choice, nothing else was working and I couldn't live with the blow out. I'm just having some major doubts about this. It's been a week now.

I went to see Matt and he made me feel so much better! Everything I was freaking out about he explained calmly and logically. When I brought up the infection smell he just nodded and reminded me that I am killing a part of my ear. He also addressed my concern about blood poisoning, which was brought on by researching castration. He pointed out that testicles have some major veins in them, so naturally the risk of blood poisoning is much higher. With an ear lobe the circulation is so much weaker that it shouldn't be of much concern. He explained how blood poisoning would begin and them spread through the blood. My ear is not really at risk. I am so relieved! He also assured me that it was dying and the colour looked just right. He couldn't give me a time frame but told me to be patient. (Of course, if I were patient I wouldn't be in this mess to begin with!) He also said that if it got to be too much he could just scalpel it off, but that I really should keep with the dental floss because of the major blood. Besides, if he cuts it off, I've still got an open wound to deal with. He told me to keep with the salt soaks and tighten the floss every night. He said to keep him posted, and stop in whenever I could. Good ol' Matt. It's a shame that IAM is down. I've been keeping a mini-diary on there and lots of pictures.

I added a tighter layer of dental floss before bed. It hurt like it always does. I also think I figured out how to get around my acrylic allergy. I wrapped a layer of Teflon tape around my plug (only the right- I can't remove the left one) and instantly the itching stopped! This makes me quite happy for the moment, although I'll find out tomorrow just how great an idea it is. I've had some bad experiences with Teflon in the past.

Day Nine (Monday)

Holy mackerel, I regret the Teflon tape! It stuck in my ear and pulling out that plug hurt! So, no more Teflon for me. My blow-out ear is normal. I washed it in the shower with Spectro Jel. Nothing exciting there. I did the standard salt soak before bed and tightened the string.

Day Ten (Tuesday)

Tonight my ear bled like you wouldn't believe. I'm not even sure why it started. Up to this point it has oozed an awful lot, but just pus. Now it's bleeding and I really don't know why. I applied pressure until it slowed but it still bled for quite a while before scabbing up. I decided to skip the salt soak tonight because I was afraid of making it bleed again.

As luck would have it, while I was trying to tighten the dental floss I made my ear bleed again. I was having my usual difficult time getting the floss tied on, when I slipped with the knot and caught it around just the blow-out, not the jewellery. When I did this I pulled down on the blow-out with my little dental floss lasso and ripped it away from my ear, breaking the scab. It was really neat because I got to see just how much has actually happened over the past ten days. My blow-out is now hanging about half way off my ear. I tied it up tight. My guess is that it'll be gone by Sunday or so.

Day Eleven (Wednesday)

This morning I cleaned my ear with Spectro Jel in the shower and removed a lot of the scabby stuff. What was left was a big black chunk of flesh. I pulled part of that off. It kind of hurt because it was stuck to me, but the tissue was dead and was ready to come off. It was cool. I also removed a lot of old dental floss from my ear with nail scissors. I just cut away the pieces that had become loose. I think I pulled 5 or 6 day's worth off my ear. The ones that were embedded in crusty stuff sort of hurt, but nothing too bad.

I now have a chunk of flesh hanging from the back of my ear that kind of looks like a crusty, peeling, scabbed slug. I have a pretty good idea of how much is left to do and I think from this point on everything will go easier. It's a relief to finally see some results.

Before bed I did a salt soak. I pulled the o-rings off my jewellery before I did it. There is some major stink under there and I was hoping to clear it out a little... After the soak I got my sister to tie dental floss around what was left of my blow out as tight as she could. I bit my lip and let her get on with it until I felt like I was going to pass out from the pain. Then told her to just knot it- it was good enough. The usual stinging, throbbing pain ensued.

Day Twelve (Thursday)

That floss did a world of difference. When I woke up today half of the remaining blow out was black and hard. It looks really raunchy. I'm so pleased! I did a regular Spectro Jel wash in the shower.

I went down to show Matt and I think he was as excited as I was about the piece falling off. Since IAM had come back online, he had already read about it and seen the pics. He told me it was looking great and was coming along right on time. He also commented that the allergy rash on the back on my neck even looked better. I think that has a lot to do with the salt soaks. When my ear doesn't itch like a mutherfucker, I'm less likely to pick at it.

I got home really late tonight and didn't do a salt soak or tighten the floss.

Day Thirteen (Friday)

Today in the shower I did a quick wash with Spectro Jel. It wasn't really very thorough because I almost passed out (totally unconnected to the blow-out), but it was good enough. It's gone back to stinking like crazy so I'm going to soak it again. I didn't do that yesterday and I'll bet that's why it smells so freaking bad.

Day Fourteen (Saturday)

Today I washed my ear with Spectro Jel in the shower. It has shrivelled up quite a bit now and I have lost a lot of feeling in the blow-out. If I poke at it, I don't feel it but if I pulled on it, I do. It's still connected to my ear. It won't be long now though. Actually, I was wiggling it around at work. It made me think of having a loose tooth as a kid. You just want to rip the thing out, but you know it'll hurt so you just play with it and hope it decides to come out soon.

Two Weeks (Sunday)

It feels like I've got a raisin stuck on the back of my ear! I've been wiggling it like mad and it's so close to coming off!

Day Sixteen (Monday)

Today I was wiggling it and it started bleeding like crazy. After school I saw Matt and he said it might be ready to just be pulled right off. I tried and it bled. Needs more dental floss, I suppose?

Day Seventeen (Tuesday)

Today I was walking down the hall of my school, wiggling my blow out like I always do. It was feeling really lose so I grabbed it and just yanked really hard. It came off in my hand. This absolutely nauseated my friend who was with me. He thought it was really gross and then drew my attention to the blood pouring all down my neck and chest (lots of blood!). I got myself all cleaned up and then stuck my blow out in an old pill bottle so I could save it for pictures when I got home.

Tonight I got to take out my earring for the first time in weeks and do a real soak. My ear loved that but it looked and smelled really gross. I got rid of a few weeks of lymph build up and made my ear bleed again. Totally worth it! I have a scab now that I have to take care of but that's no problem.

The Not-So-Triumphant Conclusion

It's been a few months now and my scab is all gone. My ear is healed and back to normal. As it turns out, my pondering from Day Four turned out to be right. The trauma from tying off my blow out created almost as much scar tissue as I took off with the tying. Fortunately, it took off just enough so that I could fit in my SSS tunnels, which I'm not allergic to. I guess my goal was accomplished. Although I still have scar tissue, I can wear earrings that I'm not allergic to.

If you're considering tying off a blow out, you really need to consider what your goal is. If it's painful or irritating, tying off may be necessary. You may not really have any other choice. If it's just an aesthetic thing, you should understand that a lot of scar tissue will regenerate. If your blow out is small to start with, you may end up with even more scar tissue than you began with. Even if you decide that you absolutely must do something about your blow out, you should try the more standard methods first. Down size your jewellery and massage your lobes daily until your hands cramp and you can't do it anymore. Even if this doesn't reduce the blow out it should soften the tissue some, which will help when you do tie it up. Also, it helps to have a professional helping you (especially if you're prone to irrational fears).

This was an interesting experience and gave me something neat to document. I hope that this experience helps anyone who's considering tying off a blow out.


submitted by: Fuzzybeast-1
on: 03 Dec. 2005
in Ear Piercing

Use this link to share:

Artist: +
Studio: +
Location: +

Comments (3)

add a comment

Monday, September 2, 2013 @4:49 a.m.
Thanx for posting this, because it has helped me with mine. I tied it off on a Friday and every 6 hours I tied a tighter string on and rubbed it down with rubbing alcohol and it was gone in 10 days.
Saturday, October 19, 2013 @10:49 a.m.
i'm on day 3 right now. the part i tied off is plum purple. the pain isn't unbearable. i'll check back
Friday, August 28, 2015 @9:19 p.m.
Can you still stretch bigger

Back to Top