Problems With Nose Piercings

Cropped image of beautiful young woman with nose ring looking sideways
A woman with a pierced nose. (Image: moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images)

Common areas for nose piercings are the nostrils, the septum and the bridge. Healing times vary for each location. Nostril piercings heal in two to four months, bridge piercings heal between eight and 10 weeks, while septum piercings may take between six and eight months to heal. Problems associated with nasal piercings may also be specific to each location,or common with all three.

Infection

As with other body piercings, nose piercings have a risk of infection. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), infection from nasal piercing demands aggressive treatments with antibiotics to fight the Staphylococcus species commonly found in the nasal mucosa. Infections are common during the piercing healing process, but they can also occur after the piercing has healed completely.

Jewelry Swallowing, Aspiration, Migration

Jewelry housed in nasal piercings can be swallowed or aspirated through the nasal cavity. Nose piercing jewelry may also migrate forward from its original location. Jewelry swallowing and aspiration can occur with nostril and septum piercings. Another problem associated with nasal jewelry is that it can be pulled out, causing the jewelry back to become embedded in the wall of your nose. Surgical removal can be necessary if the back becomes embedded.

Necrosis of Nasal Wall

One of the most serious problems associated with nose piercings is necrosis of the nasal wall. Necrosis means the localized death of living cells. Nose piercings through the septum and both lateral walls are potentially at risk for necrosis.

Perichondritis of Nasal Wall

Nose piercings through the cartilage run the risk of perichondritis of the nasal wall. Perichondritis is the inflammation of the perichondrium, a dense membrane of connective tissue that wraps around most cartilage in the human body.

Formation of Septal Hematoma

Piercing the septum of your nose can cause septal hematoma, which is bleeding or bruising within the septum. The septum is the area of skin and cartilage that separates your two nostrils. Symptoms of septal hematoma include nasal congestion, difficulty breathing and painful swelling.

Rejection

Rejection is a possibility in any type of body piercing, but bridge nose piercings have a high rate of rejection. It occurs when your body literally pushes the metal jewelry out of the pierced area. Rejections may occur during or after the healing time for nose and other body piercings, and may be related to the type of metal your jewelry is made from.

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