Split/Torn Earlobes

Earlobe piercings and ear rings represent a normal part of life and self-image for many women and men.  Ear jewelry can be found in a wide range of form, size and weight. Wearing ear rings that are too heavy for the delicate earlobes may over time result in enlarging and elongating piercing holes (partially split earlobes). If no precautions are taken, this may lead eventually to a full tear.

Torn earlobes are bothersome because it leaves them obviously disfigured and unavailable to wear pierced earrings. Clip-on earrings can still be used but they represent a poor alternatives for most people.

Earlobe Slit (Enlarged Piercing Hole)

An incomplete tear in the earlobe usually starts at the original piercing site and continues downward for some degree. The result is an earlobe hole too large to hold ear studs. If the piercing hole is only slightly enlarged leaving a sturdy bridge between hole and earlobe rim, repair does not include the earlobe rim. Closure of the enlarged slit-like hole can be performed in the office using local anesthesia only. The earlobe is easily anesthetized with one single injection with local anesthetic solution. The enlarged piercing hole is removed and stitched carefully. A new piercing usually can be performed approximately 8 week.

Repair Of The Torn Earlobe

Most split earlobes can be effectively and safely corrected using delicate surgical repair techniques. The procedure is routinely performed in the office under local anesthesia with an optional sedative. After planning and marking, a small amount of lidocaine numbing solution is placed into the area. Then, the procedure can be performed without any discomfort for the patient. In order to rebuild a normal earlobe shape, the scarred parts of the tear are removed. Repair is then performed using either a straight line or in a zigzag. Depending on the specific location of injury and anatomy of the earlobe, we will discuss the most appropriate technique with the patient beforehand. Fine suture material is used to ensure appropriate support of the repair and to minimize scaring. At home, the patient will apply small amounts of antibiotic ointment for 3 days ensuring cleanliness. The healed earlobe has usually a barely visible pencil-fine scar line without aesthetic limitations.

Can The Ear Be Pierced Again?

Yes, the earlobe can be pierced again. Dr. Fechner asks his patients to wait for a minimum of 8 weeks before the placement of a new ear stud. Now it is important to prevent recurrent earlobe damage. Therefore, be careful when you wear larger ear jewelry. Small studs are relatively safe, heavy ear rings should be avoided. Interestingly, re-injury of earlobes after repair has been extremely rare in our experience.

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