Torn or split earlobes occur due to trauma, and in some cases from extended use of heavy earrings. Earlobes can be completely ripped and torn or the site of ear piercings can be widened or stretched. With the rise of fashion piercings and body modifications like ear plugs and earlobe stretching, there are more patients than ever – male and female – seeking surgery to repair split earlobes.
If the earlobes have been subjected to trauma (e.g. piercings pulled out, accidents) earlobe repair surgery can help to reform the natural shape of the earlobe, leaving the ears looking more in keeping with the rest of the face. This surgical procedure can also help to mend lobes that have been split or stretched as part of body modification, although the techniques can differ depending on the patient’s needs. A full consultation and assessment will be required prior to surgery to ensure the results are effective. Carried out under local anaesthetic, the surgeon will remove the torn or ripped skin edges and stitch the newly formed edges together with sutures. These will need to remain in place for around 7 days.
This surgical procedure is usually well tolerated by most patients and the discomfort experienced is minimal, although any pain post-surgery can be managed with paracetamol. You may be given an antibiotic ointment to apply. You will probably need to return to have sutures removed and a check-up to make sure it’s healing correctly. To protect your newly-reformed earlobes and to help the healing process, steri-strips can be applied over the sutures. The healing time for split earlobe repair is generally 1 to 2 weeks. It’s advisable to avoid heavy exercise for a week or two to minimalise the risk of bleeding. You should wait at least 12 weeks before having ears pierced again, but it’s preferable to leave at least 6 months between the surgery and a new piercing, if at all.
Like all surgical procedures there are some risks associated with repairing split earlobes. Bleeding, swelling and infection are all considerations, but these are rare. One risk worth considering is that the earlobe fails to close or remain closed. Healing failure is associated with any cosmetic surgery though. There is likely to be a small scar on the lobe after an earlobe repair procedure. The appearance is usually acceptable and considered a fair trade for newly re-formed earlobes.