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February 05, 2014
Ear gauge piercing repair surgery was quick, nearly painless for Loyola patient
MAYWOOD, Ill. (Feb. 5, 2014) – At age 15, Cody Selga joined the wave of teenagers inserting gauges or plugs into their ears to stretch their earlobes.
“I liked the look of it, and a bunch of people in the bands I was involved with were doing it,” Selga said.
While ear gauges have become increasingly common among young people in Western cultures, the practice dates back to ancient times. Ear stretching was a ritual used in part to signify tribal status in men and for decorative purposes in women.
The process starts by piercing the ears and gradually stretching them with increasingly larger gauges every two to three weeks. Selga stretched his ears to 1.5 inches in diameter. He reports that like many young people, he increased the size of the gauges too quickly.
“If stretching is done too fast, it can result in pain, scarring and bleeding,” said Rebecca Tung, MD, director of the Division of Dermatology, Loyola University Health System. “Also, the larger the holes, the harder they are to repair."
After graduating from art school and entering the workforce as a graphic designer, Selga decided he had outgrown the ear gauges. He turned to Loyola dermatologists for help. Doctors cut and reattached the loose flaps of skin on his ears during a two-hour outpatient procedure performed under local anesthesia.
“I recovered quickly with minimal pain and virtually no scarring,” Selga said. “I am grateful to have my ears back to normal.”
Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.