Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"What are these lumps in my ear lobes?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat are these lumps in my ear lobes?


I had my ears pierced when I was younger but don't wear earrings any more. It has been years. Now there are hard lumps in my ear lobes that are sometimes painful to the touch. What are they? Can I have them removed?


The most likely explanation for these lumps in your ears, especially if they are in generally the same location that you had your ears pierced years ago, is that they are areas of scar tissue. The formation of scar tissue around where piercing are or used to be is very common, and often this can feel like a hard lump under the skin of the ear lobe, which is exactly like what you are describing. Generally, however, these areas are not painful to the touch. Therefore, it is worth getting in to see your primary care doctor to have the lumps examined. Sometimes, instead of scar tissue, a small cyst may form at the site of the old ear piercing. This may enlarge over time, and this could lead to pain. Although these cysts are typically not dangerous, they may need to be removed if they become very large or uncomfortable. Your doctor will help you figure out whether removal might be an option in your case. Generally there are trade offs, as removal is a minor surgical procedure that could involve a small risk of infection and a permanent scar. Your primary care doctor can help you weigh these risks and benefits.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.