Torn Earlobe, Split Earlobe or Expanded Earlobe

Clinical Result

Torn or Split Earlobes

Torn earlobes can occur due to trauma or after wearing heavy earrings for an extended period of time. Earlobes can then be completely torn or the area of the piercing can just be widened.

This is a very common problem affecting women and men. Repair of a split earlobe is a relatively straightforward , uncomplicated and effective procedure which is usually carried out under local anaesthetic and involves few risks or complications.
Healing time for earlobe repair is generally 1 to 2 weeks..
It is better to close the piercing/ tear fully and not to leave an opening after this surgery as it is better to re-pierce the repaired lobe at a later date and in a new site outside the area of the scar tissue as this will give less risk of the repaired lobe tearing/splitting again in future.

Expanded Earlobes

Although this practice has been common for centuries in indigenous populations throughout the world it has in recent years developed some popularity in the western world in recent years of expanding earlobes by varying methods. when these lobes are expanded beyond the point of no return they will then not return to their normal pre expanded size and earlobe repair surgery is necessary to achieve this. The surgery is similar to split earlobe repair surgery and is achievable with good results. Dr Phillipson performs this procedure.

What does the procedure involve?
Repair of earlobe is carried out under local anaesthetic. This procedure is usually very well tolerated and the discomfort experienced is minimal. The torn skin edges are excised and the fresh edges are stitched together with sutures that need to remain in place for one or two weeks depending on the clinical situation. This is decided at the time of surgery. The patient is advised to keep them dry for at least two days.

Post-operative care/advice

The post op care is as follows;

  • The micropore should be left in place and kept dry until the sutures are removed.
  • You may be given an antibiotic ointment to apply to the treated area after the sutures are removed.
  • It is advisable to keep the area clean and dry
  • The first follow up appointment takes place after one or two weeks week, when the sutures will be removed.
  • The final result is after split earlobe repair is usually a thin neat linear scar which generally fades and softens over the ensuing months and years and a central area of scar tissue after repair of expanded earlobe.

When can I pierce my ears again?

Minimum time before ear piercing is six weeks. However, it is advisable to allow between three to six months after surgery and to start with small stud earrings. Repaired earlobes are weaker than uninjured earlobes and if heavy earrings are used again the problem may recur. It is important to try to pierce the earlobe in a site outside the area of scar tissue as this tissue will be stronger and less likely to tear in the future.

What is the down time associated with this procedure?

It is possible that you could go back to work straight after this procedure. However, possibly on a work-free day for the procedure just in case there is some discomfort; simple painkillers are recommended in this situation. For those in cosmetically sensitive jobs, it is worth noting that the stitches and micropore will be visible for the first week. We recommend avoiding swimming for at least two weeks post procedure.

Risks and complications

This to be a safe and low risk procedure but one risk associated with any surgery is failure of the treatment ie failure of the earlobe to close or remain closed. Infection is always a risk and his would be treated with antibiotics if it occurred. Risk of scar; there will always be a scar on skin when it is cut deeply and there will be a small scar to the earlobe after these procedures