Swollen Tongue

Tongue Piercing Problem - Swollen tongue due to 14g barbell.

Along the top of this woman's tongue you can see a line where the location of the piercing migrated over a 4 month period. Two days prior to this photo, she was rushed to the hospital with life-threatening swelling of the tongue and throat. The 14g barbell had been injuring her tongue as she played with it, causing it to migrate. The doctors believe she got some food caught in the piercing, which caused her infection. The barbell shaft was improperly finished, which may have aggravated the injury. Her tongue is still visibly swollen in the photo and she has one more day of IV antibiotics before beginning two weeks of oral antibiotic therapy.

The tongue should never be pierced with less than 12g jewelry. The additional thickness of the piece spreads any pressure on the piercing over a wider expanse of tissue, dramatically decreasing the risk of migration and subsequent infections. The jewelry should also be high grade. This is NOT a piercing to try to save a few dollars with by using cheap jewelry.

On a happier note, she returned to us once she got over the problems, and had the piercing done with a 12g barbell. She is currently doing well and describes the jewelry as 'much more comfortable'.

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