Stretched or torn earlobes commonly happen because of trauma, such as heavy earrings, children pulling on earrings, or gauging— the practice of placing increasingly larger studs into earlobe piercings as a part of body modification. Trauma stretches the piercing to an overly large hole or a completely split earlobe, with the piercing reaching down to the bottom edge of the lobe. Earlobe repair for stretched or torn earlobes is a relatively simple and minor surgical procedure that is performed in our office with the help of local anesthesia (injection of numbing medicine) or as part of a more extensive facial and neck rejuvenation procedure, such as a facelift or neck lift. Piercings that are placed too low on the earlobe or are mismatched between the lobes may also require earlobe repair, with re-piercing for a better piercing position.
Good candidates for earlobe repair are men, women, and children with stretched or split earlobes who desire repair. Individuals who want to restore previously gauged earlobes to a non-stretched and more natural contour may also be good candidates for earlobe repair. Individuals with asymmetric ear piercings who want to gain greater symmetry may also benefit from earlobe repair and re-piercing. Patients should be in good health and have mature, realistic expectations of treatment.
Our facial plastic surgeon Dr. Fishman most commonly repairs stretched and torn earlobes in our clinic, using local or injectable numbing medications. She repairs the torn or stretched earlobe by removing the skin inside the piercing and carefully suturing or stitching the tissues around the piercing for a natural result with little to no visible scarring. Dr. Fishman removes the applied sutures in 7-10 days after the repair; she frequently re-pierces the earlobe at the time of the repair or a few weeks post-treatment, depending on each patient’s individual needs.
Yes, absolutely. Dr. Fishman frequently re-pierces the repaired earlobe at the time of the repair, or about 8 weeks after earlobe repair. The timing of piercing depends on your anatomy, previous history of earlobe repairs, and location of desired earlobe piercing. Dr. Fishman recommends wearing light earrings for 6-12 months after earlobe repair, to decrease the chance of re-stretching the new piercing.
The procedure and recovery after earlobe repair are not painful. Earlobe repair surgery is performed with local anesthesia (an injection of numbing or freezing medicine). This injection stings for 15-30 seconds, very much like an injection of numbing medication at the dentist’s office. To decrease the discomfort of numbing medicine injections, we often use cool compresses, a vibration distraction device, and laughing gas (also known as ProNox). After the earlobe is numbed, most patients report no discomfort and only slight tugging and pressure during the earlobe repair procedure. After the repair, most patients describe a mild soreness, and commonly do not require any pain medications. Most earlobe repair patients return to work and social obligations immediately after the procedure.
Dr. Fishman will determine your child’s candidacy for earlobe repair during your child’s consult. Most children who can tolerate an injection of numbing medication (like that given at a dentist’s visit) can do very well with earlobe repair.
Dr. Fishman performs earlobe repairs in 15-30 minutes, with the duration of the procedure most dependent upon the extent of trauma to the earlobe, the number of piercings to be repaired, and the presence of concurrent earlobe re-piercing. We recommend you expect to be in our office for about 45 minutes for an earlobe repair.
For the most accurate answer to this question, you should check your coverage for earlobe repair with your insurance provider. While our practice does not contract with insurance companies, we can provide you with billing information should you like to submit your own claim to your insurance company. Also, we offer financing options for treatment. Please learn more about financing on our site, and inquire about this at the time of your consultation.
Stretched piercing or torn earlobe piercing absolutely benefit from earlobe repair. Too-long or overly stuck out or gauged earlobes would likely benefit more from an earlobe reduction, or reshaping–than a simple piercing repair. Because every patient has individually different anatomy and varying aesthetic goals, your best treatment recommendations result after a personalized consultation with our Doctor.
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