A torn or split earlobe may happen gradually, after many years of heavy earring wear, or it may happen instantly when a baby’s tight grip or an over-the-head sweater catches an earring and traumatically pulls it down through the small fleshy lobe.
Fortunately, you don’t have to live with an unsightly split earlobe. Our board-certified general surgeon in Glendale, Arizona, Dr. Johnny Serrano specializes in earlobe reconstruction at Precision Surgery and Advanced Vein Therapy.
Can my torn earlobe be fixed?
For decades, people have used earlobe reconstruction surgery to repair damaged or injured earlobes. Even so, this minor cosmetic procedure is more in demand than ever before, as men and women who no longer want their lobe-stretching gauges seek to close piercing holes and restore normal earlobe size and shape.
Earlobe reconstruction can repair a full scope of common earlobe concerns, from traumatic injuries to piercing-induced changes or damage. Dr. Serrano can:
- Repair an earlobe torn by an earring being ripped out
- Fix elongated piercing holes caused by heavy earrings
- Close large open earlobe holes created by gauge wear
- Restore an earlobe ripped by trauma (i.e., a dog bite)
Dr. Serrano can also preempt a likely earlobe split or tear by restoring a lobe with multiple piercings that are too close together or closing a piercing hole too close to the bottom of the lobe.
Earlobe reconstruction basics
The top portion of your outer ear may consist of flexible cartilage, but its lower lobe is little more than fatty tissue and skin. Some earlobes are attached to the face or neck, while others dangle freely. Free earlobes are more common than attached lobes.
Earlobe reconstruction repairs this fatty bit of tissue following trauma or damage that has left it split, open, and/or stretched. Many cosmetic earlobe problems can be corrected with a simple closure technique, while some require a more complex tissue rotation to achieve the desired results.
Torn earlobe repair
Repairing a torn lobe is the simplest earlobe reconstruction procedure. After cleaning and numbing the split lobe, Dr. Serrano makes tiny incisions along the sides of the torn tissue to create two clean edges.
This helps “refresh” the dermal edges, so they’ll heal back together more easily. Finally, he carefully stitches the edges together with layered, dissolving sutures, restoring the lobe to its former shape.
Stretched lobe repair
Repairing larger open holes in earlobe tissue caused by wearing “plugs” to stretch, or gauge, the lobe is a bit more complex. As with simpler earlobe repair procedures, Dr. Serrano begins by sterilizing and numbing the treatment area. After removing excess skin, he makes tiny incisions along the inside edges of the opening to foster faster healing and closure when the tissues are brought back together.
If the lobe has been significantly stretched, Dr. Serrano may need to skillfully rotate the tissue to recreate a normal, smooth, symmetrical lobe to the opposite earlobe. Finally, he closes the opening in layers to take tension off the outer part of the incision.
Your earlobe repair specialists
Done with a local anesthetic, earlobe reconstruction is a simple in-office procedure that can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the nature and complexity of the cosmetic issue at hand. You can drive home from the procedure and expect your earlobe to heal within a few weeks.
You may experience slight bruising, redness, tenderness, and bumpy lobe texture after earlobe repair, but such side effects tend to be mild and brief, usually resolving within a week. Your sutures will dissolve in about a week, as well. Post-procedural discomfort is minimal, and most people don’t need over-the-counter pain medication to manage it.
You can expect to have a very fine scar once your lobe has fully healed. If you plan to re-pierce the repaired earlobe, you typically need to wait at least eight weeks before doing so.
To learn more about in-office earlobe reconstruction at Precision Surgery and Advanced Vein Therapy, call 623-321-5663 or click online to schedule a visit with Dr. Serrano today.