Earlobe repair is a common plastic surgery procedure, yet it is rarely discussed in the media. It is very easy for earlobes to become damaged over a long period of time. Earlobes are soft and pliable and are primarily made of skin and fat. They have no cartilage or bone for support. As you age, your earlobes can become stretched-out and more susceptible to tears. Earlobe problems can also be the result of a hereditary or congenital deformity. The three primary causes of earlobe damage are:
- Wearing large and heavy earrings – These types of earrings can pull on the earlobes causing partial or full tears. The aging process, which causes the skin to sag all over the body, also affects the earlobes. Wearing large and heavy earrings makes it easier for your earlobes to stretch and tear as you get older.
- Gauging – Intentionally and progressively stretching the size of the pierced hole in your earlobes may have been an edgy trend for you while you were young. Now that you are older, you may want to change this because having huge holes in your earlobes may not look so good, especially in social and professional settings.
- Trauma or injury – Earlobes can be injured in a variety of ways. An earring in your earlobe can get stuck while you are putting on clothing, your baby can pull on your earring, or damage to your earlobe can occur while you are involved in an athletic event.
Damaged earlobes can be painful and unpleasant to see, but they can be repaired through a relatively simple procedure in a short amount of time.
Earlobe repair is an outpatient procedure, and several techniques can be used depending on the severity of the damage to your earlobes. After numbing the earlobe areas, your doctor may remove some of the damaged skin on the earlobes then stitch the remaining skin together to make the earlobes look natural. More extensive damage like a complete tear of the earlobes or gauging may require your doctor to redesign your earlobes. You may have smaller earlobes, but they will look more natural.
Earlobe repair can take 15 minutes to one hour, and the procedure is relatively pain-free. You can resume your normal daily activities shortly after your procedure. You will have to wear a surgical dressing or bandage over your earlobes for several days after the procedure. This will help to prevent or minimize any complications like infections or swelling, and it will help to maintain the new shape of your earlobes. You can take over-the-counter pain medications if you experience any pain or discomfort during the healing process.
Recovery time after an earlobe repair procedure is typically 6-8 weeks. At this point, the swelling should go down, and you will see more natural looking and symmetrical earlobes. After you have fully recovered, you may choose to re-pierce your ears. Just keep in mind that the skin of your reconstructed earlobes will be weaker than they were before the procedure. This will make it easier for the earlobes to tear, so it is recommended that you wear smaller and lighter earrings. Also, you may need revision work on your earlobes in the future if further damage occurs.