Earlobe Repair

The earlobe is the only area of the outer ear without structure-providing cartilage, making it susceptible to stretching and tearing over time. Wearing heavy earrings or gauges are common reasons for split or stretched earlobes, while accidents are the leading cause of earlobe tears. No matter the reasons, we can bring your earlobes back to their original state with earlobe repair surgery. 

Dr. John P. Freeman has extensive experience repairing and reshaping earlobes back to their natural, healthy appearance. As a leading expert in facial surgery in Katy, TX, Dr. Freeman is dedicated to providing patients with outstanding results in a comfortable setting. If you’re interested in learning more about earlobe repair surgery and would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Freeman, please contact us at 281-599-9445 or visit our contact page.

What Is Earlobe Repair?

Earlobe repair is plastic surgery to restore stretched or torn earlobes. Years of wearing heavy earrings can cause piercing holes, as well as the entire earlobe, to become droopy and long. Gauging results in permanently stretched lobes, and accidents involving earrings can lead to tears. For all of these and other scenarios, earlobe repair surgery can help restore the earlobe to its original shape.

Earlobe repair surgery, medically known as loboplasty, is a minor surgery that is performed in the office under local anesthesia or IV sedation. The procedure usually takes no longer than an hour to complete. Initial recovery takes place within a week, while complete recovery may take up to 12 weeks. Scars usually take up to a year to fade. Once your incision has completely healed, you can re-pierce your ears and enjoy your favorite jewelry once again! Dr. Freeman can even do the re-piercing.

Different surgical techniques are employed in earlobe repair, depending on the type and severity of the tear or deformity. A popular technique used by Dr. Freeman is Z-plasty. What this essentially involves is making a “Z-pattern” incision in the lobe and stitching it together. This technique reduces tension in the newly formed scar, making it blend better with the surrounding skin as it heals.

Other more complex techniques involve preserving the ear orifice, while those that do not preserve the original hole use simple straight stitches. Some earlobe injuries require the use of skin flaps from other areas of the body. Dr. Freeman will discuss your options with you during your initial consultation so you can decide on the best course of action.

Earlobe Repair vs. Earlobe Reduction

Stretched earlobes and naturally large earlobes can both be improved with surgery but require a different approach. Patients with naturally large earlobes or those whose earlobes have elongated with age may be better candidates for a different type of loboplasty: earlobe reduction.

Earlobe repair is mainly done to restore earlobes to their original appearance following injury or years of stretching, while earlobe reduction is done to correct overly droopy, large or elongated earlobes. Droopy earlobes can affect your confidence or make it difficult for you to wear earrings. Some people have naturally large or long earlobes, while others see their earlobes change shape as they age. Whatever your reason, Dr. Freeman can address your concerns with quick and simple earlobe surgery techniques.

As with earlobe repair, different techniques are used for earlobe reduction:

Wedge technique: The surgeon marks a wedge shape of excess tissue to be removed. They will inject a local anesthetic into the earlobe and begin making an incision. They will then remove the excess tissue and close the incisions with stitches.

Peripheral margin reduction technique: The surgeon marks the lower edge of the earlobe and injects a local anesthetic. They excise the lower part of the lobe to reduce its size and close the area with stitches.

Earlobe reduction is an in-office procedure performed under local anesthesia or IV sedation. You may need to follow a couple of guidelines before and after this procedure, but overall downtime and aftercare restrictions are minimal.

Benefits of Earlobe Repair

The main benefit of earlobe repair surgery is restoring a natural appearance to earlobes that have been stretched or torn. Additionally, there are other reasons why you may wish to consider this procedure:

  • – Minor surgery with few risks and downsides
  • – No need for general anesthesia and prolonged downtime
  • – An in-office procedure that is complete within an hour
  • – Relatively painless recovery

Following this surgery, patients can get back to their usual routine and do not need to take time off from work. Once their ears heal, they can wear any jewelry or hairstyle they wish.

Who Is a Candidate for Earlobe Repair?

Men and women of any age can benefit from surgical reconstruction to restore the appearance of their earlobes.

Almost anyone with stretched or torn earlobes can be a candidate for this procedure. Even older adults with health conditions and children can be candidates since this procedure is not associated with serious complications.

In general, Dr. Freeman may consider you for this surgery if you:

  • – Have stretched earlobes resulting from years of wearing heavy earrings
  • – Have a partially or completely ripped earlobe due to a pulled earring or other accident
  • – Want to return to a natural look after gauging
  • – Want to close or reposition earlobe holes

The only contraindication to earlobe repair is having an active infection in the earlobe. Dr. Freeman may recommend prescription antibiotics in cases of active infections before making decisions about surgery. You also need to have realistic expectations and be able to adhere to our pre- and post-procedure guidelines to be a candidate.

During an initial consultation, Dr. Freeman will discuss your concerns about your earlobes and determine if surgery is an appropriate option. Dr. Freeman is a highly regarded facial surgeon in the Katy area, and whether you require earlobe repair or a more complex procedure, you can be confident in his abundant precision and care when performing surgery.

What to Expect

What to Expect: Your Earlobe Repair Surgery Consultation

During your first consultation, Dr. Freeman will take your medical history. He will ask you about any past or present conditions, previous surgical treatments, any allergies and whether you are currently on any medication. This helps him determine which course of action will ensure the procedure goes smoothly with the lowest risk of complications.

Dr. Freeman will then examine your earlobes and discuss your options and concerns. He will explain the procedure and tell you what you can expect from this surgery. He will also provide you with instructions on how to get ready for your surgery. In most cases, preparation involves stopping taking blood-thinning medications and supplements prior to the procedure and refraining from smoking and alcohol.

What to Expect: Your Earlobe Repair Surgery Procedure

Earlobe repair surgery is a minor procedure that is performed in the office using a local anesthetic or IV sedation. For this procedure, Dr. Freeman will cleanse and sanitize the treatment area, then inject a local anesthetic into your earlobe and wait for the area to become numb.

If repairing a tear, Dr. Freeman may carefully remove skin from either side of the tear to create new, clean edges that can be sutured together. He will then stitch the sides of the earlobe together and bandage the area.

In cases of significant tissue loss, Dr. Freeman may take one or more flaps of tissue from another area and use them to rebuild the earlobe. Depending on the severity of the case, earlobe repair surgery usually takes around one hour.

What to Expect: Your Earlobe Repair Surgery Recovery

Earlobe repair usually does not require time away from work and other normal activities. Dr. Freeman will provide you with detailed post-operative instructions to follow. He will explain how to clean and care for the incision site, and let you know whether you will need to have your stitches removed during a follow-up appointment.

After surgery, your lobe may be red and tender and may develop a temporary bumpiness. These effects should resolve on their own and can be managed with over-the-counter medications.

Be careful not to disturb the earlobe with jewelry, hats, exercise or sports while it heals. Dr. Freeman may recommend wearing a headwrap to protect the incision while it is most vulnerable.

What to Expect: Your Earlobe Repair Surgery Results

Your earlobe will fully heal after six to 12 weeks, and scarring can continue to fade for up to one year. Scarring from earlobe surgery is minimal, especially when this procedure is performed by an experienced and skilled surgeon like Dr. Freeman.

We advise patients to wait at least two months before having their ears pierced following earlobe repair. If Dr. Freeman has used a technique that involves preserving the orifice, it is a good idea to avoid wearing earrings until the incision has completely healed.

Earlobe reconstruction does not prevent future damage — a new tear can occur if you continue to wear heavy jewelry or the lobe sustains an injury. Consider wearing only lighter earrings to maintain the repair.

Will a Split Earlobe Repair Itself?

Although some earlobe tears heal on their own over time, the result is often unsatisfactory. Allowing a damaged earlobe to heal without medical care can result in misshapen lobes and unsightly scars that make it difficult to re-pierce the ear. It can also lead to infections since blood flow to the earlobes is generally poor, and wounds take a long time to heal in this area.

Seek medical help if you have injured your earlobe. A skilled surgeon can help you get your earlobe back to normal after acute injury and prolonged stretching.

Will a Stretched Ear Go Back to Normal?

Earlobes that have become extremely stretched due to heavy earrings, gauging or aging will not return to their previous state without surgery. While earlobe tissue may contract a bit in these cases, it usually does not occur to the extent most patients desire.

With gauging, earlobes may revert to a normal piercing if the gauges were 10mm or less. If they were larger, the tissue may contract to some extent, but most patients with large gauges will need surgery to repair the stretched earlobes.

How Much Does Earlobe Repair Cost?

Earlobe repair surgery is usually done for cosmetic reasons, so most health insurance companies will not cover this procedure. The costs of earlobe repair surgery depend on the type of repair needed and if one or both ears are involved. It can also depend on the complexity and severity of the damage.

Prices can range from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars for more complex procedures. Dr. Freeman will discuss the costs with you during your consultation and offer several financing options, including Lending Tree and Care Credit.

Can You Fix Earlobes Without Surgery?

Dermal fillers can be used in place of surgery for some aesthetic earlobe concerns or to enhance the results of earlobe repair.

Patients with mildly stretched earlobes can have the piercing slightly modified with a small amount of filler. Dermal fillers can make the earlobe plump, which helps keep stud earrings from drooping and improves the overall appearance and symmetry of your ears.

Contact Dr. Freeman’s Clinic in Katy, TX, for Torn Earlobe Correction

The practice of ear piercing has been around for centuries, and earrings are one of the most popular types of jewelry. If, despite taking precautions, you end up with a stretched or torn earlobe, or you decide you no longer want your piercing, your ear can be repaired with a minor surgical procedure.

Earlobe reconstruction is a simple surgery that can correct a torn earlobe in a short amount of time and allow you to wear your favorite pieces of jewelry once again. Please schedule a consultation with Dr. Freeman to learn more about torn earlobe repair in Katy, Texas, by contacting 281-599-9445 or visiting our contact page.