What Is Earlobe Repair?
Over time, a pierced earlobe can become stretched if a person frequently wears large or heavy earrings. In addition to creating a long or wide opening, earrings may tear completely through the lobe. A torn earlobe may also result from trauma, such as having an earring pulled off or caught on clothing.
Dr. Charlotte Ann Rhee is a Board Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon in Huntington, Long Island NY that provides earlobe repair surgery for those with torn earlobes that need to be repaired with a quick in-office procedure, performed under local anesthesia.
What Concerns Can Earlobe Repair Surgery Fix?
Fashions and trends come and go, but for those that impact our earlobes, our skin didn’t get the message. There are generally two causes where Dr. Rhee is called upon to repair earlobe damage: trauma or stretching.
Trauma is often the result of wearing large hoop earrings that can catch on things. You may have been taking off a sweater or just brushing your hair. You may have picked up a small child and he or she was enamored with your earrings and before you know it was grabbing and pulling one. If the earring catches or is pulled, it can tear right through the bottom of the lobe.
Today’s earrings have also become heavier and wider. This isn’t good for your earlobe skin. The weight can pull down and enlarge the original earring piercing to the degree it is visible to others. Earrings are also growing in diameter, the ultimate example being gauges. Gauges are discs placed in the earlobe. If left in place long enough, when these gauges are removed the hole they created cannot close up and will need surgery to do so.
What Are The Benefits Of Having Earlobe Repair Surgery?
When your earlobe is stretched and there is a large hole in the middle of it, that can be a little distracting when another person is talking with you. The same is true of a former earlobe tear that has healed unevenly or maybe not fully healed at all.
These are not difficult procedures. Dr. Rhee uses her board-certified surgical skills to repair the damaged earlobe with the goal of the incision scar being as fine as possible. These scars become basically invisible relatively quickly.
There’s really no reason to not have a damaged earlobe repaired.
Who Would Be A Good Candidate For Earlobe Repair?
Obviously, candidates for this surgery have torn or elongated piercing tracts. The tears can be partial or complete — that doesn’t change the procedure to repair them.
Sometimes Dr. Rhee will have a potential patient ask about these surgeries assuming she isn’t a candidate because the injury was not addressed immediately. That’s not the case; these injuries don’t have to be recent to be repaired. If the patient, for instance, split her earlobe and was hoping it would heal on its own, yet it hasn’t, she can come to our Huntington Station offices and it can still be repaired. The only difference is that Dr. Rhee will have to remove the edge of the healed skin at the tear.
Earlobe Repair Surgery
Torn earlobe repair first involves “freshening” the edges of the torn lobe by removing a small amount of skin. Then, using fine sutures, the earlobe is meticulously repaired to reconstruct a normal, rounded earlobe that matches your natural ear shape.
You will be able to return home immediately after the procedure, with only a small bandage covering the stitches. The stitches will be removed after one to two weeks. When the earlobe has healed and the scar has softened, you may re-pierce the repaired earlobe. It takes about three months for the earlobe to fully heal.
What Kind Of Results Can I Expect After Earlobe Repair Surgery?
Our ears usually go unnoticed…until they don’t. As with children who have protruding ears, a torn or stretched earlobe can be quite obvious and distracting to others talking with you or otherwise in close proximity. But surgical repair with Dr. Rhee leaves nothing but a faint vertical scar, which becomes less and less visible with every passing week.
After about 10-12 weeks your earlobe will be fully healed, and you can have it pierced again. You do need to be sure to not have the new piercing placed in the scar or just above the scar. That’s because the scar tissue is weaker than your original skin, so it will re-tear more easily. Have the new piercing placed on either side of the scar.
If Dr. Rhee repaired your earlobe due to stretching caused by large gauges, it would be a good idea to leave that fashion statement in the rear-view mirror from here on out.
How Will My Recovery Be After Earlobe Repair?
This is a relatively short recovery. The patient can usually return home or go back to work immediately. The earlobe doesn’t have many nerves, so the pain is not extreme and can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medication. You’ll need to apply prescription antibiotic ointment to the incision regularly. Your sutures will usually come out in 7-10 days when any swelling resolves.
Are There Any Risks With Earlobe Repair Surgery?
These are very low-risk procedures with Dr. Rhee. She performs them with only local anesthesia and reactions are quite rare to lidocaine. As mentioned above, the earlobe doesn’t have any nerves, so there isn’t any danger of loss of function or other damage. The main risk is infection, but we prescribe an antibiotic ointment. Diligent use of it mitigates that risk.