ZocdocAnswersWhat are these balls of cartilage in my ears?

Question

What are these balls of cartilage in my ears?

Never had my ears pierced but there is a little lump of hard cartilage in both of my ear lobes. What are they? Something to be concerned about?

Answer

You are definitely on the right track to mention ear piercings, because small lumps in the ear lobes are extremely common in the ear lobes of those who have had ear piercings, where they most likely represent harmless little balls of scar tissue. However, there are other reasons to have scar tissue in the ear lobes, most likely related to a minor trauma, such as a cut or scratch, in the past. Additionally, bumps under the skin can often be caused by small cysts. These can occur anywhere on the body, including in the ear lobes. Cysts are very, very common, and they typically are not something that needs to be worried about, since most of them are completely benign. However, cysts can become large and uncomfortable, in which case the may need to be surgically removed. Finally, it will be important to rule out a skin infection or an abscess under the skin, especially if the lumps are warm, red, or painful. The first step would be to go see your primary care doctor. They will be able to examine the lumps and help you determine whether they are anything serious and whether additional treatments might be needed. Good luck!

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