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A conch piercing is a form of body modification in which the cartilage of the ear is perforated in order to display jewelry. Also known as a cartilage piercing, this type of ear piercing may involve either the inner or outer conch of the ear. Rings, barbells, and other metallic pieces of jewelry are typically chosen for this body piercing.
The process of conch piercing is usually done with some sort of sterilized needle or gun. Many people opt for the needle, as piercing guns result in more errors than precise needles. Unlike many forms of body modification, a conch piercing has little to no risk of being rejected by the body or of being displaced. Following the initial perforation, the pierced area may be stretched to accommodate large pieces of jewelry.
Inner conch piercing occurs when a person has the innermost shell of his or her ear pierced. This part of the ear is adjacent to the ear canal. Outer conch piercing is the result of piercing the flat outer cartilage of the ear. As the pierced area heals, many people opt to wear simple barbell pieces.
During the piercing process, a clamp is typically used to hold the area in place. The artist marks the area before piercing it with a straight needle. The puncture is performed while the person receiving the piercing exhales.
Healing periods for conch piercings vary depending on the person receiving the body art. If aftercare directions are followed, healing is generally faster. This piercing requires two cleanings with antiseptic solution each day during the first two weeks. Infection can occur if the wound is not given proper care.
Other than the cleaning, the piercing should not be touched. Some pain and soreness is typical. Secretion from the wound can still occur for three to six months following the piercing. If the wound becomes infected, a physician should be consulted.
Conch piercing is considered a simple procedure. Most body modification artists can perform this piercing. No specialized equipment is needed, and no awkward body angling is required. The procedure is generally safe, though a minor loss of hearing can occur from altering the shape of the conch.
Many people become lightheaded after receiving a conch piercing. This feeling can often result from body art. Some people even fall into unconsciousness. In order to prevent this from occurring, it is advisable to eat a small meal prior to engaging in body modification.