American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals
 

What is earlobe repair?


earlobe repair

Earlobe repair is quickly becoming one of the most requested procedures in the United States. More and more people are coming in to get their earlobes repaired. In some cases, folks have waited years before seeking earlobe repair. Some have removed their gauges or heavy earrings, the soft tissue has shrunken a bit, but there is still a significant hole.

Causes

Elongated earlobe holes, or a split earlobe, can be caused by many things:

  • Heavy earrings worn over long periods of time
  • Gauges placed in the earlobe, with increasing size, weight and time
  • Earrings getting caught and then pulled (typically long earrings snagging a dress or other clothing)
  • Children pulling on earrings
  • Multiple piercings too close together or too close to the bottom of the lobe
  • Sudden trauma

Evaluation

The plastic surgeon will typically take a medical history and do a physical exam. Health issues that can affect wound healing (diabetes, smoking, etc.) or bleeding (medicines, herbal preparations, etc.) may be discussed.

Like any other procedure, they will be asking about the patient's goal, and then looking at the hole to determine the size and condition of the hole, along with the anatomy of the surrounding tissue. Some earlobes just need closure. Some need a more complex rotation of tissue. Usually, both earlobes can be done at the same visit.

Procedure

Typically, earlobe repairs are done as an outpatient, under local anesthesia, in the office.

Most patients can drive themselves home. The earlobe is cleaned and anesthetized. The excess skin is removed. Tissue may be rotated depending on the individual issue. The wound is then closed in layers, to take tension off the outer part of the incision. There is usually a fine scar when all healed.

Recovery

Most patients return to work the next day, often the same day. Permanent sutures or absorbable sutures may be used for skin closure, depending on the individual case.

Re-piercing

Typically, we ask our patients to wait at least three months before re-piercing their ear. We also ask that the new piercing be at least 3mm from the old piercing site.

Cost

This may vary as each case is different. The amount of time spent, the complexity of the repair, geographical area, etc. can all influence this number. The cost of an earlobe repair can range from $500 to $2,000. Most offices have payment options.

After the earlobe is healed, we have had many patients say that they should have, "done this years ago." This is one of those office procedures that can make a difference in someone's daily life.

For more information, please see a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss your specific case. Your surgeon will be able to answer your questions and perform the repair.


The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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