What to Do If Your Earring Rips Through Your Ear Lobe
It happened to Beyoncé on stage. If it happens to you, here are the steps you should take.
Beyoncé didn’t wake up totally flawless last Sunday morning—she likely had a sore, bloodied ear after a mishap at the Tidal X charity concert in Brooklyn, New York, the night before. While she was in the middle of her song "Haunted," her long braid got caught on her earring, and ripped it out of her ear lobe (yipes). Being the fierce performer she is, Yoncé kept the show going.
But we wondered (of course), if this kind of accident were to happen to any earring-wearing person, what's the best way to handle it? For instructions, we reached out to Melisa Lai-Becker, MD, chief of the Whidden Hospital Emergency Department in Everett, Massachusetts.
Your first priority, she explained in an email to Health, is to stop the bleeding. “Place direct pressure [on the wound] and hold a cool pack, not direct ice, over the area,” she wrote. Then, with Bey-like calmness, head to the ER, where docs will stitch your lobe back together to start the healing process.
But what if a chunk of your lobe actually comes off with the earring? Once you've controlled the bleeding by applying pressure with "something clean and soft" (a piece of gauze, tissues, or a towel will do), dampen another piece of clean material with cool water and wrap it around the detached part of your ear, Dr. Lai-Becker said. Pack the severed piece on a bed of ice as you travel to the hospital, or a nearby tertiary care center with a plastic surgeon or ear/nose/throat surgeon who may be able to suture it back into place.
“The blood supply in the area is very poor compared to the rest of the face, and even to extremities like fingers, toes, arms, legs,” Dr. Lai-Becker cautioned. “So it's not a certainty that a partial ear amputation can be reattached and thrive again.”
Our suggestion: If you're headed out—and there's any chance you may be moved to whip your hair around Bey-style—wear your teeniest studs.