Who is a candidate for earlobe repair?
Patients often seek earlobe repair for several reasons. Traditionally, the downward pull of heavy earrings can stretch and elongate the earlobe. As the skin and soft tissues weaken over time, the pierced hole becomes larger and may eventually tear through the weakened tissue. This tends to happen in older patients after years of heavy earring use. A similar tear can also occur more abruptly from trauma. Children may pull on earrings, or clothing may snag on them, leading to an abrupt laceration in the earlobe. In each of these cases, the person may choose to wear clip on jewelry. However, the earlobe is left with a forked shape that can no longer wear a traditional piercing.
There are also growing social and cultural trends whereby people choose to serially dilate the earlobe, progressively thinning and elongating it with larger gauges. As this dilation increases, the tissue may become weak and break. Individuals with earlobe tears, or who simply wish to restore their lobes to a more natural appearance, are ideal candidates for ear lobe repair. Persons seeking military enlistment may also need repair of this kind of piercing prior to joining any of the United States Armed Forces.
Finally, dissatisfaction with enlarged earlobes causes some patients to seek reduction in their size. These patients may not have any tear or piercing. They’ve simply developed earlobes too large for their liking. This may be an inherited familial trait or may arise over time. These patients are ideal candidates for minimally invasive earlobe reduction procedure.
How do doctors perform earlobe repair?
Repairs of earlobe tears and reduction of earlobe size can all be done on an outpatient basis. Dr. Stallworth performs the procedure in the clinic, and patients experience little to no down time. The earlobe skin is anesthetized and sterilely cleansed. Dr. Stallworth then repairs the torn lobe or excess skin and contours it, typically using dissolving sutures.
Can the ear be pierced again?
After the earlobe is repaired, it can be pierced to accept an earring again. However, patients may need to wait at least 2-3 months following the repair. The time it takes depends on an individual’s rate of healing. Dr. Stallworth prefers to perform this repeat piercing in the office and will discuss your options with you based on your preferences.