Quick Reference

Cartilage Damage

Bump Description | Bump Creation | Bump Prevention | Bump Treatment | Further Reading

Cartilage damage usually occurs from piercing infections or the use of guns, it is uncommon and not easily repaired.

Cartilage Damage

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Damaged cartilage can look like:

  • Soft dips or tears on cartilage.
  • Blister-like bumps
  • Large round lumps which deform the natural layout of tissue.


  • Cartilage damage is created by blunt force trauma or by a deep infection of the cartilage itself which can eat away at the cartilage’s structure.
  • Structure cells cannot move into the area and healing cells are slow to reach infections or heal tissues. This means that if the cartilage is badly damaged it cannot be put right by your body.
  • Cauliflower ear is cartilage damage that can effect piercings. This happens when trauma causes fluid to fill the cartilage causing a layer of the cartilage to die and look lumpy.


  • Cause as little trauma to your cartilage as possible, since it cannot bounce back the way other skin does. Therefore avoid getting nose or upper / inner ear piercings done with a gun as they cause trauma (find out more).
  • Avoid butterfly back earrings while healingThe backs collect dead skin and bacteria and cannot be cleaned well while in the ear, making infections which can cause cartilage damage more likely.
  • Avoid wearing jewellery during contact sports as a piercing can facilitate cartilage damage by being easy to catch.


  • The only treatment available for cosmetic cartilage damage is re-constructive plastic surgery.
  • If cauliflower ear is caught quickly enough some of the disfiguration can be avoided by immediately having the ear drained with a syringe.

Further reading

If you would like more information about cartilage damage we recommend you read our full guide found here. We also recommend reading our guide to the dangers of piercing guns to better understand how they can cause the trauma leading to this bump. You also may want to read our guide to how piercings heal to see how that unique process is effected by bumps like this.