Earlobe repair is a simple surgical procedure to fix injured, torn or abnormally shaped earlobes. It can also restore earlobes that have been stretched due to plugs or gauges. Earlobe repair is available at the Cleveland plastic surgery practice of Dr. Guyuron. It can be performed as a standalone procedure or in conjunction with otoplasty (traditional ear reshaping).
Candidates for earlobe repair may have been born with excessively large or small earlobes. More commonly, candidates develop injuries in the earlobe due to earrings. For example, a heavy, long or threaded earring causes the hole from the piercing to stretch and elongate. An earring can get caught or pulled on something (sometimes while sleeping in earrings), causing the piercing hole in the earlobe to tear. In some cases, this laceration can tear through to the lower edge of the earlobe. Other candidates may experience an earlobe injury during a botched piercing.
Earlobe repair can be performed on an outpatient basis at Dr. Guyuron’s plastic surgery office. In most cases, local anesthesia is used.
Dr. Guyuron will remove the inner tract of skin (where the earring rests) and sew the earlobe back together.
Earlobe repair does not require significant downtime. Typically, patients can return to normal activities very quickly after the procedure.
The stitches are dissolvable and they will usually in a week. Patients must wait an additional month before getting re-pierced.
Earlobe gauging is a trend that has attracted attention over the past decade or so. It involves placing a gauge, or a plug, into the earlobe to intentionally stretch it. Larger plugs are gradually placed to continue stretching the earlobe. Eventually, the plugs take on a doughnut-like effect.
Some patients become dissatisfied with the large holes, and want to restore their earlobes to a normal shape and size. However, the skin can stretch to a degree where it loses elasticity, and therefore cannot shrink back to its normal size on its own. Surgical intervention then becomes necessary.
Repairing earlobes with gauges or plugs is still performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia, but it is a more complex procedure. Dr. Guyuron must reshape more of the soft tissue of earlobes that have been gauged, and use more sutures. Regardless, the recovery process is still non-intensive, and there should be minimal post-operative discomfort.