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Looks like a mini cartilage burger!

A few years ago (6 years, to be precise), after weeks of consideration, I finally decided to muster up the courage to ask my piercer if he would dermal punch the cartilage of my left ear.

I've had my fair share of piercings, however they have always been small gauge. The largest I had was my navel, which had been pierced at 10ga and which was very intense. I was enamored by the idea of having a large gauge conch piercing but didn't want to go through the stretching process in cartilage. A dermal punch was the option, but it made me very nervous. But the desire for this piercing was greater than my nervousness and so, I booked a consultation with Pierre.

I told him what I envisioned, and he set out to examine my ear to see if punching that area was a possibility. Using a flashlight, he looked at my ear from every possible angle. The flashlight makes all of the veins very visible when you shine it through the cartilage and there if was... a nice vein right through the spot I dreamt of having a big barbell. I was very disappointed, to say the least.

Still, Pierre continued to look at my ear and drew a circle on the cartilage at the top of my ear, just over the rook. There were no veins in this area, a punch was more than possible there, and he suggested 4ga. I wasn't sure, at first. We talked about it some more, discussed jewelry options. The more we talked, the more I liked the idea, even if I was still disappointed that I wouldn't get my conch punched as I wanted. Finally, we made an appointment for the next week, just after the studio closed on a Saturday, to go through with the procedure.

The next 7 days were TORTURE! They went by slowly, and I was getting growlingly excited and nervous. Finally, the day came. I had a very nourishing dinner and went to the studio just before closing time.

Pierre had prepared all that he needed. We had discussed previously the fact that he suggested healing the fresh dermal punched hole empty for at least the fist few weeks. That would mean NOT wearing any jewelry at first. His thought was that, if the hole was empty, the skin would have more space to close and form a tunnel and healing would be quicker. I'm sure I'm not explaining this correctly, but I hope you get the idea. I was ok with the idea, even if it seemed a bit strange to leave a fresh piercing empty.

I sat in the chair, which was then reclined to an almost completely horizontal position – like a hospital bed. Pierre and his assistant prepared a sterile field around my ear, I had basically a sterile paper towel covering the whole side of my head with just my ear sticking out. He looked through my ear with the flashlight again to draw the "vein free" area again. I already knew the placement suited me, so I didn't need to look or approve placement.

I did some breathing exercises to keep calm and focused while Pierre and Robert (his assistant) got ready for the procedure. And then, they were ready and it was show time.

I couldn't see since my face was under the sterile field, I don't know what it looked like. I know Pierre positioned the punch from the back of my ear and pushed with all his might, and then I had a BIG hole in my cartilage. I felt a lot of warmth, I heard a really strange cutting noise, and I felt a LOT of pain.

I can't describe the pain, but it was SO intense. I was shaking a bit and felt really cold (but that's always how I feel when I'm nervous). I concentrated on my breathing while Pierre applied pressure to my ear to stop the bleeding. He pinched my ear for what seemed like a really long time, I'm sure it was only a few minutes. Meanwhile, Robert showed me the peace or cartilage that had been taken out of my ear by the punch. "It looks like a mini cartilage burger!" That's what came out of my mouth. And it did! A thin layer of skin, a thicker layer of cartilage, and another thin layer of skin with just a hint of blood. Mini cartilage burger.

Robert then got a paste ready to put on my ear. I cannot remember what it was, but Pierre explained it was a Chinese herb or root of some kind that encouraged clotting. Pierre basically stuffed the punched hole with this paste which was dark orange-brown and applied some more on the front and back on my ear. He then bandaged me up, and made me sit up.

I felt a bit week in the knee, but otherwise I was ok. I felt a dull persistent ache in my ear, but nothing unbearable. Pierre told me to take some motrin for the pain and keep the bandage for 24 hours. Then, I was to slowly clean the paste away with warm water. From there, daily cleaning in the shower and sea salt soaks was all I needed. In a few weeks, I would be able to wear jewelry, when the hole didn't look so "raw". He also asked me to come see him from time to time to show him the healing process, or if I had any issues of course.

There was nothing to report that night, I slept well and avoided that side of course. The cleaning of the paste was a challenge. It was thick, almost muddy, and dry. But with patience, I made it. My ear was very sensitive so I was extra gentle. During the following weeks, the sensitive ache feeling went down considerably. But when ever there was wind or colder air against my ear, it would ache on the inside of the hole. Eventually, I decided to try and wear a glass plug in the hole to see how it felt (and didn't consult Pierre before).

Low and behold, it felt a lot better! I spoke with Pierre and he said that as long as I cleaned the plug / piercing, and didn't see any regression in the healing, it was fine for me to wear the plug. Especially if it felt better.

And this is how I healed. I can't even say how long it took, it just did with no hiccup or issue. Eventually, I changed jewelry and wore steel, glass, even organics. The last jewelry choice, once 100% healed, was a silicone tunnel. I was finally able to sleep on my left side, which was SUCH a relief. You see, any hard plug made my ear extremely sore if I put any pressure on it. Even after being healed for months. That was my only complaint, but the silicone fixed it.

All things considered, it was a wonderful experience. The pain was intense, but brief. Some discomfort during healing, yes. But no huge issues, no problems what so ever. I love my dermal punch, though to be honest I'm not sure I would ever get another one again... ;)


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 11 Oct. 2009
in Ear Piercing

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Artist: Pierre
Studio: Black+Sun
Location: Montrea

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