The soft tissue of the earlobes is very important in the overall aesthetics of the face and neck, particularly in the profile. Unfortunately, this delicate tissue is easily stretched, torn, or macerated. In fact, something as simple as a heavy pair of earrings can significantly widen an ear piercing or even tear through the earlobe entirely! In other cases, a traumatic tear occurs, such as when an earring hoop or clasp is accidentally caught on a brush or a piece of clothing, or when a child unknowingly pulls on an earring. Rarely, a pet may bite the ears, ripping the earlobe or other parts of the external ear.
Luckily, each of these issues can be treated with a simple surgical procedure called earlobe repair. Dr. Ransom closes an overly stretched piercing or repairs a completely torn earlobe using fine surgical instruments and hair-thin sutures. At the same time, some patients opt for a reshaping of the soft tissue (earlobe reduction). Earlobe repair is a minimally-invasive procedure and can be performed with local anesthesia or minimal sedation in an office-based facility or ambulatory surgery center.
*Actual patients in photos
After the procedure, a protective dressing may be required overnight. When the dressing is removed, the treated earlobes may appear slightly puffy or swollen. Minimal bruising and redness can also occur, but significantly swelling or pain should not. With appropriate activity restrictions, patients are typically able to return to school or work the next day, though earrings should not be worn for a week. In some cases, it is necessary to re-pierce the ears; Dr. Ransom will do this for free in the office after the earlobes have healed appropriately. Earlobe repair can be performed with other aesthetic surgical or non-surgical treatments, such as rhytidectomy (facelift), scar revision, or Botox cosmetic. For more information about earlobe repair, please contact Dr. Ransom or schedule your consultation today!
Who is a candidate?
Anyone with a damaged, stretched, or torn earlobe is a candidate for earlobe repair. The only absolute contraindication to the procedure is an ongoing or recent infection of the area, including an infected piercing. This would have to be completely resolved before the procedure in order to ensure appropriate healing. For gauged earlobes, the details of the procedure are somewhat different and depend largely on the size and shape of the gauges in place. For larger gauges, a complex rearrangement of the delicate earlobe skin is needed. Patients with a history of hypertrophic scars require special consideration. Dr. Ransom would be happy to discuss this in detail during your consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please note that all patients are different and individual healing times and results may vary. The statements regarding procedures and recovery made here are general rules.
After the procedure, a protective dressing may be required overnight. When the dressing is removed, the treated earlobes may appear slightly puffy or swollen. Minimal bruising and redness can also occur, but significant swelling or pain should not. With appropriate activity restrictions, patients are typically able to return to school or work the next day, though earrings should not be worn for a week. Sutures are removed between four and seven days after the procedure.
After the earlobes are repaired, it is important to allow sufficient time for healing before wearing earrings, particularly heavy hoops or dangling pendant types. Dr. Ransom requests that you do not wear earrings at all for the first week. After this time, if healing is progressing normally, studs can be worn. It is best to wait at least two weeks before wearing other types of earrings; Dr. Ransom will evaluate your ears before giving the “okay”. In many case, it is necessary to re-pierce the ears after an earlobe repair, to place the holes in a better or more comfortable position. Dr. Ransom will do this for free in the office, after the earlobes have healed appropriately. When the ears are re-pierced, the piercing studs are left in place for two weeks before other earrings can be worn.
Dr. Evan Ransom is an Ivy League-educated and Ivy League trained Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon. He is a Double Board Certified Head and Neck Surgeon and Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and fellowship-trained in facial plastic, reconstructive, and laser surgery. His practice is in the San Francisco Bay Area, serving patients from San Francisco, Oakland, Marin County, Palo Alto, Silicon Valley, Walnut Creek, the East Bay, and all over Northern California.