Wearing heavy earrings for many years can cause the earlobe to droop and stretch, and it can pull the “hole” downward, causing the hole to “stretch” and even to “split”. This is a very common condition that many women seek to have corrected. Sometimes, it can be caused by a child pulling on the earring or heavy phone usage on that side, or basically anything catching on the earring, causing trauma. Whatever the cause, earlobe surgical repair is the same. As a plastic surgeon, Dr. James F. Boynton has a specialized technique that he can perform in the office, with only numbing medication, in about 20 minutes or less. Many times, patients elect to have both earring “holes” fixed. In other cases it may be just one side. The tissues are repaired, if the earlobe is torn completely, using very fine sutures. A simple tape is placed over the earlobe for a week. Dr. Boynton follows the patient through their recovery, which is quite fast, and then “re-pierces” the earlobe for the patient. This usually takes place about 6 weeks after the procedure.
The results are excellent and patients do really well with this procedure. There is a small risk of recurrence which can happen (less than 10% of the time), and if so, this is something that can be repaired again in the office. Many times, it is a product of the tissues and the factors that caused the stretching in the first place, especially if patients continue to wear earrings that are too large and heavy.
Typical Split Earlobe
Stretched hole from an earring not completely torn through.
Another split earlobe that wears her earrings in a second upper piercing.
Someone who wore gauged earrings before and now wants a “normal” earlobe.
This is a typical result approximately 6-weeks after earlobe repair prior to re-piercing
The earlobe in particular ages with the face, as all of us age, and becomes more ptotic or “droopy” in men and women. This especially occurs as we get into our 50s-60s. Sometimes, patients need an earlobe “lift” or even reduction in size to recreate the youthful shape and appearance of the earlobe. In some cases, Dr. Boynton does an earlobe lift and/or reduction in conjunction with the repair. Other times, especially in conjunction with a face lift and neck lift, the earlobe is often lifted or rejuvenated in order to improve its appearance.
Finally, there has been some popularity in “gauge earrings” among some women and men over the last decade, whereby a plug insert is placed and the earlobe hole is progressively stretched to quite large sizes in some cases. Dr. Boynton has seen a number of patients that previously wore “gauged earrings” and later wish for reconstruction. As one might imagine, the hole is left quite large after they stop wearing the earrings and it requires a bit more work to reconstruct. The patients Dr. Boynton has seen have decided to no longer wear the earrings and desire improvement in their appearance. Dr. Boynton usually performs a wedge reduction / earlobe lift and repair in order to reconstruct the earlobe back to a normal appearance.
Schedule an Ear Repair
Please contact Dr. Boynton to schedule an ear repair consultation. Our board-certified plastic surgeon will be happy to discuss your treatment options and answer all of your questions.