Tired of the same old ear piercings? If you are looking to get a less common ear piercing that looks cool and has minimal pain then this might be the one for you. A transverse, or horizontal, lobe piercing is an ear piercing that is done the long way on the earlobe instead of piercing from front to back. The length of the piercing is parallel to the sagittal plane, or vertical plane, of the lobe. The transverse piercing does not pierce the cartilage, but goes only through the skin of the ear lobe. The jewelry sits as horizontal as the anatomy will allow. When wearing a barbell, one ball emerges on each end and sits on the ear with no shaft exposed.
The transverse lobe piercing is done most often as a freehand piercing, meaning no clamps or forceps are utilized, due to the type and amount of tissue. A receiving tube is often used. The exact piercing spots are marked then a 14 or 16 gauge hollow needle is inserted from the outside edge of the lobe to the medial edge of the ear lobe. Then, the piercing jewelry is inserted and fixed into the ear. Much of the technique involved with this piercing depends on the anatomy of your ear and whether your lobes are attached or not. Some piercers may use a curved needle on attached earlobes while a straight needle would generally be used on earlobes that are unattached.
The look of the piercing makes it seem as though there would be prolonged agony as the needle passes through that much flesh. However, most people feel less pain when getting a transverse lobe piercing than with a standard earlobe piercing. The inside of the earlobe consists of mostly fatty tissue and there are not many nerves in the path of the needle. It’s just slightly uncomfortable.
It is possible to stretch a healed transverse piercing. However, the stretching process must be done at a very slow rate due to the fact that there is much less tissue around the area of the piercing than with most other stretchable piercings. A transverse lobe piercing can also be done though earlobes that are already stretched. Most people who get their transverse done when they already have stretched lobes will have the piercer do it through flexible, thin, silicone tunnels. You can also get custom tunnel plugs made that have holes drilled into them to accommodate such a piercing. The second option looks amazing, but it is expensive and would be somewhat difficult to change on your own. Labret studs can also be used.
Healing a transverse lobe piercing can be a fairly worry free process. Normally, most ear lobe piercings are very quick to heal, but transverse lobes often take longer to heal due to the longer fistula. Healing time can take around two to ten months. Just as with any new piercing, it is extremely important to follow your professional piercer’s aftercare regiment and guidelines. Abscesses are the most common problem with this particular piercing. Salt soaks are very important to the healing of the piercing because they help with drainage and abscess prevention. Avoidance of swimming and contact with makeup, hair products, or lotion are often recommended, and extra care should be taken when brushing hair or undressing. Cell phone and head phone use on the side of the fresh piercing should be limited, and sleeping on a fresh piercing is not recommended. And as always, wash your hands before touching your piercings to avoid infections even after they are healed.
There is a greater portion of the barbell inside the ear so it is also important to wear jewelry that you are not sensitive too. Flexible PTFE or bioplast barbells and rings are a good option for this piercing. A straight barbell is most commonly worn with non attached earlobes and a curved barbell is generally used with attached lobes. A BCR or circular barbell of proper diameter must be used; this however will be less comfortable on someone with unattached ear lobes. There is also a risk of migration with this piercing, and jewelry that is too heavy is most often the cause. If you have questions about your jewelry, your piercer is a wonderful resource.