Split Ear Lobe Repair

Wednesday, August 14 2019 3:03 PM
Split Ear Lobe Repair

By Dr. Bethany J. King

Most women feel pretty and “completed” when they have their earrings on. But, sometimes fragile ear lobe tissue cannot withstand the weight of the jewelry.  The continued weight of the earring can cause the piercing hole to stretch. When it’s stretched, the hole begins to look more like a slit and earring studs will tip down.  Eventually, the earlobe can split in half if it’s not addressed early enough. 

If a patient just wants their thinning earlobe made thicker, I can inject filler material into the ear lobe. Sometimes this will help support the earlobe piercing hole.  Other times, patients want me to just cut to the chase and fix the elongate hole before it has a chance to split.  That can be handled with a simple outpatient procedure that is over in usually less than an hour where the hole is cut out and the edges sewn back together. 

If your earlobe has already split, the repair is essentially the same, but the sutures go all the way to the bottom of the earlobe.  I leave sutures in place for a week and have you return for suture removal.  Pain is minimal and can be addressed with just acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

The ear can be pierced again later, preferably in skin that is not scarred by my repair. Scar tissue FEELS tough but it’s not nearly as resilient as your native tissue.  If you place the new piercing right into the scar line, it could open up again.  So, if you’re itching to have your ear pierced sooner than later after the repair, you should have your new hole created outside of the scar tissue.  If you need it in the scar line, you should wait many months for this scar tissue to mature.  Since I have to remove some of your tissue to get the skin edges to grow together again, the earlobe shape when I’m done is expected to be subtly different than the earlobe that you were born with, but this shape is still normal and fine and doesn’t tend to draw attention to itself.  The scar is thin and not very noticeable, and, most importantly, it allows you to enjoy your earrings again.

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