Earlobe repair is a variety of procedures that targets different types of skin repair. A person’s earlobes are constructed of fatty tissue and soft skin, and they come in various sizes, shapes, and forms. Earlobes are unique to each person, and how an individual chooses to adorn their earlobes is unique. When earlobes are pierced to accommodate various forms of jewelry or accessories, from smaller studs to larger, heavier “plugs” or circular ornaments, the delicate areas can become stretched, enlarged, ripped or torn. This can make the earlobes unattractive and unusable for most types of ear jewelry and accessories.
Earlobe reconstruction and repair can bring earlobes back to their normal shape and size, often restoring them to how they looked prior to injury. There are several different types of earlobe repair, each addressing a different type of injury.
What to Expect During Earlobe Reconstruction and Repair
The degree of the earlobe damaged will determine the type of repair that is needed. After marking the area for the procedure, a local numbing agent will be used to perform the treatment as an outpatient procedure with no general anesthesia required. There are three types of common injury and deformity, and a different surgery is required to repair each.
Stretched Earlobes (repair) – Stretched earlobes most occur when a person uses plugs to gauge their earlobes, resulting in a drooping hole. This can also happen if a person wears very heavy earrings for an extended period. During this repair procedure, the hole is surgically removed and the lobe is repaired with stitches. This is called earlobe reconstruction.
Ripped/Torn Earlobe (repair) – Ripped or torn earlobes occur for several reasons, but the most common involves having an earring ripped out of the lobe. For this procedure, the doctor will cut away the skin lining the hole to manufacture a new wound. They will then stitch the pieces of ear together to hold the skin, promoting healing. This is called a split earlobe repair.
Earlobe Reduction (surgery) – Earlobe reduction is a popular form of surgery. People who elect for this surgery are often older or born with larger-than-average ears. As we age, the skin loses elasticity, especially in the earlobes. This results in droopy, long lobes. The reduction procedure consists of cutting a wedge of the earlobe out, then reattaching the remaining lobe to the head. This results in a smaller ear.
Earlobe Repair Recovery
You will feel minimal discomfort after your procedure. Most patients feel okay without pain-relieving medication or with only an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Advil or Tylenol. An antibiotic ointment will be used on the area to prevent any infection and to aid in the healing process. A small amount of drainage from the affected area is normal as well, but contact your doctor if you notice signs of an infection. This can include severe swelling, pain, and colored pus.
You will be able to return to work and resume normal activities following your procedure. Patients are advised not to have any piercings done for up to six months post-procedure.
Visiting Your Doctor for Earlobe Repair
Only medical professionals are qualified to perform earlobe repair surgery, but that shouldn’t be the only criteria you use when deciding. It is important to choose a provider who has the experience necessary to not only repair the earlobe, but to understand and value the cosmetic implications of this type of procedure. You’ll need an experienced medical professional who respects cosmetic work. This is exactly the type of care you will receive at our Chesterfield office. To determine if you are a good candidate for earlobe reconstruction and repair, please call to schedule your consultation with one of our professionals at West County Dermatology.