Overtime, wearing earrings may cause undesirable changes in the appearance of our ears. The piercing site and the earlobe itselfmay elongate. The earlobes may tear or split from even the slightest pull on the earrings, leaving a conspicuous and unsightly appearance. In certain skin types, the earlobes may form keloids (benign but thickened scars), which may be disfiguring and prevent the use of earrings.
With earlobe repair, undesirable changes in the earlobe may be corrected to improve appearance, remove keloids, or allow continued use of earrings.
Am I a good candidate?
You are a good candidate for earlobe repair if you have:
- a split or torn earlobe
- an elongated ear piercing site
- stretched earlobes due to gravity and earring wear
- keloid formation
What happens during the initial consultation for earlobe repair?
During the initial consultation, Dr. Chung will:
- examine the earlobe and the severity of the tear, scarring, or stretch
- make recommendations specific to the problem and discuss goals of treatment
What happens during the earlobe procedure?
Earlobe repair is a procedure that is performed in the office under local anesthesia.
For a torn or stretched earlobe:
- the skin inside the tear is meticulously removed and a three-layered skin closure is performed. The three layered closure involves stitching the skin on the back of the earlobe, the subcutaneous tissue in the middle of the earlobe, and the skin on top of the earlobe. This complex closure prevents the formation of cysts and provide for the best cosmetic result. Dr. Chung uses meticulous technique to ensure that the curve at the bottom of the earlobe is maintained. Sometimes a special procedure called a “z-plasty” may be needed.
- Dr. Chung also injects fillers such as Restylae, Perlane, and Juvaderm into earlobes with piercings that have stretched but that have not torn all the way through. By plumping up the earlobe, the ear pierce opening is narrowed. At the same time, injectable fillers maytransform thin, aged earlobe into a rejuvenated, more youthful earlobe.
For a keloid:
- Dr. Chung uses the carbon dioxide laser or electrocautery device to remove the keloid. These laser or electrocautery procedures are followed by steroid injections into the area to prevent keloid regrowth.
What is the recovery like?
There may be some slight swelling after earlobe repair. Dissolvable stitches are used, whenever needed. You will be asked to apply antibiotic ointment on the incision for a week and will need to wait approximately 4-6 weeks before re-piercing your earlobes. Through experience, Dr. Chung recommends that new ear piercing sites be placed at a slightly different location, as the scar is weaker than the surrounding skin and may tear more easily.
With keloid removal, you will need to have steroid injections into the earlobe every few weeks for 1-2 months. Dr. Chung may also recommend that you wear special silicone pressure earrings to prevent regrowth of the keloid.
What will I look like?
The incision will be barely visible, and you will be happy that you can wear your earrings again. And for those patients who had a keloid removed, you will be happy that a disfiguring scar was removed.
“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it.”