Minor piercing infections are treated with antibiotics targeted at the most common bacterial pathogens. Surgical excision and drainage may be necessary in cases of abscess formation. In these cases, cosmetic damage may be permanent because of the disruption of cartilage architecture, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
The most common organisms involved in piercing infections of the ear are Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. These organisms are susceptible to fluoroquinolones and are easily treated in cases of simple infections, notes the American Academy of Family Physicians. People with allergic dermatitis may not be able to differentiate between the symptoms of infection and a reaction to the metal in the ear piercing.
Other infectious complications of piercings include the contraction of viral hepatitis B or C and tetanus. The American Academy of Family Physicians explains that while it is important to sterilize piercing guns between uses, body piercing salons are not regulated and many do not do this. This increases the chance of spreading bacterial and viral infections from one client to the next. Noninfectious complications of body piercings include scarring and keloid formation, an allergic reaction to nickel and trapping of the piercing within a pierced area.