Wednesday, February 5, 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.”  

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH), on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, Loyola Outpatient Center, and Loyola Oral Health Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 254-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 93 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities — that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.