Looking stylish can have its consequences, and in some cases those consequences are a split, torn or stretched out earlobe. Earlobe damage can happen after years of wearing heavy earrings or if you’ve decided to use a gauge to stretch out the lobe. The damage can also occur quickly, for example, if a small child yanks on his or her mommy’s earring or if an earring gets caught on something and pulls out.
Earlobe repair treatment options depend on the extent of the damage to the lobe and on how long you want the repair to last. Usually, the treatment is quick, simple and has a short recovery time.
Dermal fillers such as Restylane or Juvederm not only help reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles on your face. They can also help fill in a torn earlobe, over-stretched ear piercings or piercings that have become elongated, leaving a long crease in the middle of your earlobe.
You might want to choose a dermal filler to repair a partially torn earlobe if you want instant results, without the need for any downtime or anesthesia. While the procedure is very quick and typically costs less than surgery, the results aren’t permanent. You might need a repeat treatment after a few months or a year.
There might be a few side effects after the injection, but they generally fade within a few days. Side effects can include swelling, bruising and redness. You’re usually able to resume wearing earrings a few days after the injections.
Earlobe repair surgery is also relatively quick and has minimal pain and discomfort. A consultation before the procedure is required to make sure you are a good candidate. Your surgeon will typically examine your earlobes and review your medical history. While you don’t have to do much in preparation for the surgery, you’ll usually be asked to stop taking certain medications, particularly medicines that increase bleeding.
Most earlobe surgeries are finished in less than an hour. The procedure is typically performed in-office, using a local anesthetic or a topical anesthetic.
The complexity of the surgery depends on how much of the earlobe is torn. A lobe that is stretched out or only partially torn can be repaired by removing a small piece of skin from the area. After the section of skin is removed, the surgeon will typically stitch up the hole.
Completely torn earlobes or piercings that have been significantly stretched out require a more involved procedure, called a Z-plasty. A Z-plasty is usually performed to reduce the amount of scarring after the surgery and to create a result that looks natural.
Usually patients don’t feel much discomfort or pain as their ears heal after the surgery. You’ll be able to go back to work right away, depending on the type of job you have. You can typically start exercising or other strenuous activity about a week after the surgery.
Ear Lobes and Keloid Scars
In some cases, a keloid scar can develop after a person gets their ears pierced. Keloid scars form when the body keeps producing scar tissue, even after the original wound is completely covered. A keloid scar often looks unattractive and can make it difficult or impossible to wear earrings.
Surgery to remove a keloid scar from the earlobe typically takes an hour or less and involves local anesthetic. During the procedure, the doctor will reduce the height of the scar, so that it is level with the skin’s surface. The scar’s width can also be minimized.
Preventing Further Damage
While many patients want to enjoy youthful looking earlobes that are free of tears, it’s likely that many will also want to keep wearing earrings. You have a few options when it comes to wearing earrings after the repair surgery or treatment.
One option is to purchase support patches, sometimes sold under the brand name Lobe Wonders. The patches provide adequate support when worn behind the ears and keep heavy earrings from pulling or putting too much force on the earlobe.
Another option is to change the style of earrings you wear. A study published in 2012 in Dermatologic Surgery found that some styles were less likely to tear through the lobe than others. Hoops and studs were less likely to be pulled through the earlobe than hooks or screws. The location of the piercing also played a role in determining how likely an earring was to pull through the lobe.
Body modification choices made when you were younger don’t have to stay with you as you get older. If your earlobes are stretched or torn, learn more about your options for earlobe repair today. Contact the Bitar Institute near Washington, DC. Call (703) 206-0506 for a consultation with Dr. George Bitar or Dr. Robert Centeno today.
George Bitar, MD, FACS is an award-winning, board-certified cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon, the Founder and Medical Director of Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Virginia. He specializes in the latest surgical and minimally invasive techniques to scar management and reduction. Dr. Bitar is involved in groundbreaking research and education in plastic surgery and has authored numerous articles, abstracts, and chapters.