Ear Lobe Repair

What is Ear Lobe Repair?
Many individuals that have had pierced ears for the majority of their lifetime can experience a clefting of the earlobe from the weight of the earring pulling through the bottom of the ear lobule. This can sometimes be a gradual process or perhaps traumatic if an earring is pulled abruptly. Sometimes the piercing is intact but has drifted very low on the ear lobule, precluding a natural appearance when wearing earrings. The repair involves removing the skin within the piercing and repairing the earlobe. This is a simple process for standard piercings; for people desiring reconstruction of earlobes distracted over time by gauges this is a much more complicated procedure.

How long will surgery be?

A standard earlobe repair is performed in the office under local anesthesia. A single side takes approximately 15 minutes from start to finish…double that time if both sides are repaired. For a more complex repair, it obviously will take longer to perform.

What kind of anesthesia will I have?

Local anesthesia.

What is recovery like?

Small sutures on the front of the ear are removed after 5 days. During that time, patients are instructed how to care for the incision which effectively amounts to cleaning with peroxide and applying a little Bacitracin ointment. Most patients experience little to no pain and if there is a little discomfort once the local anesthesia wears off, Tylenol is sufficient to manage.

What are the risks of a Procedure?

If the ear is re-pierced along the repair…which is tempting because the original piercing was in fact the ideal location for the piercing…there is a risk of recurrence of the cleft. I prefer to repierce the patient’s ears myself in the office after about 6 weeks to control the location of the piercing and potentially avoid recurrence. Patients are given instructions to purchase a specific type of earring and local anesthesia is used prior to piercing.

How do I prepare for surgery?

After an initial consultation in the office, an appointment is made for the minor procedure. Patients are asked to avoid aspirin or ibuprofen for the week before the procedure to help minimize bleeding and bruising. Patients are able to return directly to work or school after the procedure if desired.