The earlobes contribute to the aesthetics of the entire face, especially when used as a foundation for face-framing, attractive jewelry. Over time, piercing holes can become stretched out slowly due to the weight of heavy earrings combined with gravity, or can become torn suddenly as the result of an injury or trauma. Some men and women choose to gauge their ears, enlarging their piercing holes deliberately. Earlobe repair surgery can restore wholeness to your earlobe, either to correct an inadvertent rip or because you’ve had a change in personal style preferences.
Recognized as a facial plastic surgery specialist and one of the top cosmetic surgeons in the Mobile-Pensacola metro area, Dr. James Koehler is a board certified cosmetic surgeon serving patients from Gulfport to Gulf Shores and beyond. Dr. Koehler offers a wide range of plastic surgery procedures for both men and women, and is known for his caring commitment to a patient-first approach.
Are You a Candidate?
If you’ve suffered a tear in one or both earlobes, have noticed the piercing holes in your ear getting larger or wish to restore a normal look to previously gauged lobes, you may be a good candidate for earlobe repair. Piercing repair surgery can be performed on both men and women who are in good physical and mental health and who have realistic expectations about their results.
Other reasons for considering earlobe repair include improving the appearance of lobes that look too bulbous, elongated or overly “old” for your face, or for the removal of keloids (abnormal scar tissue growth). Sometimes, earlobes can be repaired in combination with other surgeries, such as otoplasty or even a face lift as the finishing touch in your facial rejuvenation.
About Earlobe Repair
The earlobe skin is very pliable, capable of accommodating many different styles of body jewelry and adornment from simple piercings to extremely large gauges. Over time, though, personal tastes can change with regards to how earlobes should look or what kind of jewelry you feel is appropriate. In some cases, piercings can become torn straight through the earlobe due to a jewelry snag or other incident. A ripped, damaged or abnormal appearance to the earlobe can lead to self-consciousness, especially since the ears can only be hidden by a limited number of hairstyles.
Earlobe repair can be performed as an immediate medical response to a torn piercing, similar to the way any injury would be sutured in an effort to promote optimum healing. Ear gauging repair requires somewhat different steps, but is performed with the same intention in mind: to restore integrity to the earlobes again. Earlobes that are showing their age after a lifetime of wearing heavy earrings can also be improved through earlobe repair surgery.
What to Expect
A quick consultation should be enough time for Dr. Koehler to accurately assess the extent of your earlobe repair and decide the best approach to take. In the majority of cases, earlobe repair surgery is relatively straightforward, requiring only local anesthesia to help keep you comfortable. Dr. Koehler removes the edge from around the split, and then joins the opening back together using dissolvable sutures. The surgery itself can often be scheduled over your lunch break, as the entire procedure only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish for minor repairs and slightly longer for repair of earlobes injured by gauges.
After your earlobe repair, you may notice some soreness in the area for the first day or two, although this is typically minor and should be easily managed with over-the-counter pain medication. It’s important to keep the sutured area as clean and dry as possible in order to help prevent the risk of infection and promote favorable healing. Usually, earlobes can be re-pierced after 30 days, and your own earrings can be worn after another 2 weeks.
Risks and Complications
The complications associated with earlobe repair are typically minor, and include concerns like the possibility of infection or unfavorable healing. In the case of keloid removal, recurrent keloids are another possibility. Dr. Koehler will discuss all the risks and benefits with you during your consultation so you’re fully informed about what to expect before you schedule your surgery.
Your New Look
After your earlobe is repaired, you should enjoy a more natural look to the entire ear without a visible split within the lobe. If the lobes were reshaped, they should look more proportionate to the rest of the ear and face, and keloid removal results in smooth, unblemished ear contours. Ear gauging repair should reestablish a normal size and shape to the earlobe, which can then be re-pierced with standard-sized earrings if desired usually after approximately 3 months of healing.