As with any other areas of the face, the ear lobes are prone to losing elasticity and volume. Because they are made up of skin and fat only, they are prone to tearing. This usually occurs in women who frequently enjoy wearing heavy earrings that can eventually stretch the piercing. Other cases may be caused by a sudden pulling of the earring from the ear, resulting in a tear.
There are 3 classifications of ear lobe tears:
This is characterized by a simple elongation and stretching of the existing hole in the ear lobe. This can be bothering as the earrings no longer stay or sit correctly in the earlobe. Heavy earrings can further elongate the piercing, making it worse.
The ear lobe has a complete tear and is unable to hold an earing.
This is characterized by two or more partial or full tears, often caused by multiple piercings.
Before the Procedure
During your initial consultation, Dr. Jonathan Lee—our board certified plastic surgeon—will perform a thorough evaluation of your ear size, shape, proportion and degree of tear. He will determine if you are a good candidate for earlobe repair and make a recommendation tailored to your specific goals. Pre-treatment photos will be taken and any potential risks and complications will also be discussed.
Dr. Jonathan Lee (MD, FRCSC) is an experienced, Canadian and New York fellowship-trained Plastic Surgeon based in Calgary. Well-established, he is board certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and specializes in both cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.
- The surgery to repair a torn or split ear lobe is very straightforward. It can be done under local anesthesia and usually takes one hour to complete.
- Dr. Lee will make an incision on the edges of the torn or stretched ear lobes, removing the excess parts when necessary, and stitch back the edges in either a straight or zigzag line.
- Occasionally, earlobe repair is performed in combination with other cosmetic procedures such as a facelift, neck lift, or eyelid surgery.
Recovery After an Earlobe Surgery
- Most people describe mild pain to both ears in the first week following surgery. Dr. Lee will prescribe you a pain reliever. After the first several days, Tylenol is usually sufficient for any discomfort. Swelling and bruising around the ears is normal in the first several weeks.
- Swelling and bruising around the ears is normal in the first several weeks.
- Most people will take several days off from work. Normal activities may be done the next day after the surgery, but contact sports or any pressure to the earlobe should be avoided. Sleeping on the ear lobe repair should also be minimized during the first week after surgery.
- Dr. Lee will typically see you one week after the surgery to check your healing and remove any stitches. At this time he will also provide you with detailed scar care instructions. The next visits will be after 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months and 1 year.
- Earlobes may be re-pierced 6-8 weeks after the surgery.