Cosmetic surgery to repair a torn earlobe is a common procedure. Piercing an earlobe puts it at risk to tear. The size, style and weight of an earring can contribute to the stretching of the earlobe opening. Large earrings that dangle can be caught on clothing or grasped by a child. The result may be a partially or completely torn earlobe. Repair of a torn earlobe occurs in the plastic surgery office setting using a local anesthetic. The procedure consists of “freshening” the edges of the split and placement of sutures to complete the repair of the earlobe.

Keloids are a common skin care issue on the ear lobes for African Americans and Hispanics. These scars can be surgically removed and treated with corticosteroid injections and pressure earrings, which can help prevent their recurrence.

Torn Earlobe Repair Procedure

In most pierced ears, the pierced hole gradually enlarges over time. If it tears, the final tear is usually just through a tiny piece of tissue at the bottom of the lobe. In this case, immediate repair will not take care of the skin covered slot, so reconstruction is delayed until after the wound has healed and inflammation has diminished. However, if the tear starts from a tiny pierced hole, immediate repair is an option.

Depending on the deformity, reconstruction can take different forms. In all methods, the skin lining the slot is removed creating a raw edge to rebuild. When tissue has been lost, however, the procedure is more complicated, and reconstruction involves creating normal proportions around a somewhat small ear.

After Your Ear Lobe Repair Procedure

Sutures are removed 1 – 2 weeks after the repair procedure. A thin layer of antibiotic ointment is the only dressing applied in most cases. A little drainage from the wound is to be expected.

How soon can I wear earrings after surgery?

You should wait six months after surgery before wearing earrings. The scar should be soft before you get your lobe re-pierced, approximately three months after the earlobe repair.

For more information visit the Torn Earlobe and Torn Earlobe Surgery Pages.

Earlobe Repair FAQ

What is a split earlobe?

It’s the separation of the ear’s skin from the joint of an ear piercing down through the base of the earlobe. Heaving or dangling earring trauma is the most common causes of earlobe splits.

How is a split earlobe repaired?

An effective in-office surgery performed to restore the earlobe is the Z-plasty technique. This involves the wound being closed in a zig-zag fashion to strengthen the skin area from not splitting again.

Are stitches required for ear lobe repairs?

After the wound edges are freshened with open skin, small sutures stitched into the subcutaneous tissue on the surface of the skin, which can usually be taken out 7 to 10 days after the procedure. Barely noticeable, clear stitches are placed within the split in order to ensure proper healing and clean alignment.

How long does surgery last?

The amount of time the procedure takes depends on the length of the split and the amount of trauma to the skin tissue. If there are complexities aside from just the split ear, there may be extra precaution and time, although in general earlobe repair takes about one hour depending on the anatomy and structure prior to surgery.

Is earlobe repair painful?

Discomfort can be expected prior to surgery. Patients are prescribed a pain medication to ease the process, however some use the prescription for 2 to 3 days afterwards then switch to Extra Strength Tylenol.

How soon can I wash my hair after surgery?

Like any stitches, it is important to keep them dry, along with the steri-strips for up to five days following the split ear repair. During this time, hair can be shampooed as long as caution is taken in the treated area. It is recommended to shower and shampoo properly prior to the appointment. Once the stitches are removed, the steri-strips need to be reapplied and the area must again be kept dry five days afterwards.

How soon can I wear earrings after surgery?

You should wait six months after surgery before wearing earrings. The scar should be soft before you get your lobe re-pierced, approximately three months after the earlobe repair.