What is Earlobe Repair Surgery?
Earlobe repair in Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts corrects split or torn earlobes, which are commonly the result of heavy earrings, incorrect earlobe piercings, gauging, or other trauma to the earlobe. For those that wish to return to wearing earrings or who are self-conscious of the uneven appearance of their earlobes, earlobe repair may be a great option. Many patients are bothered by the aged appearance of their earlobes which can droop with time and appear even worse with the weight of an earring.
Am I a good candidate for earlobe repair?
Ideal candidates for earlobe repair are individuals who have split earlobes, enlarged holes in the lobe, or have experienced other trauma to the earlobe. They should also be in general good health and have realistic expectations of correction.
Earlobe Repair – Patient 225
A woman in her early 60’s with a complete cleft of her right ear and a partial cleft of her left ear. She does sleep with her earrings in and notice that this gradually became longer until it tore through completely. She initially had her ears pierced at the age of 8. She also has a droopy appearance of the earlobes. She is shown just before and again, 3 months after bilateral earlobe lift when she returned to have her ears re-pierced. With an earlobe lift, a wedge is marked by swinging the earlobe back and forth across an imaginary central point. As this wedge of excess tissue is removed it “lifts” the earlobe and gives is a more youthful appearance. Scars typically become thicker and redder for 6 weeks and then fade and improve over the next 1 1/2- 2 years.
Earlobe Repair – Patient 224
A woman in her mid 50’s with a partial tear of her right earlobe for many years that makes it difficult to wear earrings. She did not remove her earrings for sleeping and this is the side that she sleeps on.
She is shown before and again, 3 months after repair in the office under local when she returned for re-piercing in the office. I recommend that she clean the new piercing with hydrogen peroxide a few times a day and wear a Bandaid at night while sleeping for the first 3-4 weeks. At that point the piercing hole should be healed enough to change earrings and she should remove them while sleeping. My theory is that the earring post levers back and forth against the earlobe as it rubs against the pillow, slowing cutting through the earlobe like a wire cutting through a cheese.
Earlobe Repair – Patient 223
A woman of color with a partially torn right earlobe. This makes her earrings hang at a funny angle. She has torn this before and had it repaired before. She does sleep with her earrings in place. She is shown before and again, 3 ½ months after repair in the office. It is great to fix things but it is better to prevent things. So I have recommended that she get in the habit of removing her earrings while sleeping to prevent this from tearing again. My theory is that the earring pulls back and forth across the pillow while sleeping and slowly cuts through the earlobe like a wire cutting through a cheese.
Earlobe Repair – Patient 222
A woman in her early 70’s with a cleft of her right ear where her earrings tore through and age related drooping of both ears. She is shown before and again, 3 months after a bilateral earlobe lift incorporating a repair of her cleft. With a lift, the earlobe is swung back and forth across an imaginary midpoint to precisely mark a wedge of excess earlobe to be excised, “lifting” the earlobe. She is thrilled with the more useful. Her earlobe tear was most likely from sleeping with her earrings in. After re-piercing she will wear a Bandaid at night for the first 3-4 weeks and then get in the habit of removing the earrings when sleeping. Most patients tend to sleep more on one side than the other, and the earring post gets pushed back and forth catching on the pillow an can slowly cut through the earlobe like a wire cutting through cheese.
Earlobe Repair – Patient 221
A woman in her early 40’s with a cleft of her right ear. She had initially had this repaired with good result and re-pierced at 3 months. She did not however remove her earrings at night while sleeping and re-tore the same earlobe 2 months later. Repairing the earlobe does not make it any stronger than it was initially. It is good to repair problems and even better to prevent new problems. People tend to sleep more on one side than another and the force of the pillow constantly moving across the earring can cause the post to slowly cut through the earlobe, like a wire cutting through a cheese. So she returned to have this repaired again. She is shown now 3 months after this second repair and again, just after re-piercing in the office. She now plans to protect her ear during the initial 3-4 week healing period after re-piercing with a Bandaid at night while sleeping ( the earring is kept in for the first 3-4 weeks while sleeping to allow the new piercing to become lined with new skin cells) and then after this time to start removing her earrings completely when sleeping.
How is earlobe repair performed?
Earlobe repair is conveniently performed in Dr. Hall’s office. The area being treated will first be numbed with a local anesthetic for the patient’s comfort. Then, depending on the degree of repair needed, flaps may be used to repair the earlobe. Another option includes the healed parts of the tear being removed and the earlobe simply sutured together. Most earlobe repair procedures can be completed in less than an hour.
What should I expect during recovery?
During recovery from earlobe repair, patients should experience minimal discomfort. However, over-the-counter pain medication is recommended to control any pain. Antibiotic ointment may be applied to the sutures to promote a healthy recovery. No downtime is required, and patients can resume their everyday tasks immediately after the procedure. This surgery generally results in a scar on the earlobe, although it is typically minor and barely visible.
How do I Care for My Sutures?
While earlobe repair is an outpatient procedure, it is still important for you to keep a close eye on your sutures to ensure proper healing. After the stitches are placed, Dr. Hall will apply a thin layer of protective ointment and a bandage to protect it while it’s still fresh. Dr. Hall and his staff will provide you with thorough written and verbal instructions before you are released, but in general, the following guidelines are the basics:
- Keep the sutures dry for the first 24 hours
- After one day, wash the area around the sutures with water and gentle soap. Repeat twice a day.
- Aquaphor ointment is applied 2-3 times per day until the sutures dissolve.
Can my ear be re-pierced after repair?
Yes, the ear can be pierced again, though it is advised that patients wait a minimum of eight weeks for the earlobe to fully heal. In order to avoid reoccurred splitting, Dr. Hall uses a double needle technique in the office to precisely re-pierce the lobes for patients.
Is there anything that can be done to prevent splitting or resplitting of the earlobe:
It is recommended that patients avoid heavy earrings after their repair and also get in the habit of removing their earrings, even studs, when sleeping. Dr. Hall has found many patients who have not worn heavy earrings or suffered obvious trauma but who have split their earlobes, sometimes more than once. After talking with many patients he discovered that this was usually the ear on the side that they slept on. His theory is that the post of the earring can be moved back and forth by the pillow and can slowly cut through the earlobe, like a wire cutting through cheese. So he now recommends that all patients get in the habit of removing their earrings when sleeping to prevent this.
“I saw 3 surgeons before meeting with Dr. Hall and by far he and his staff was the most compassionate, thorough, professional and helpful. Can’t say how pleased and comfortable he and his staff made me feel.”
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