A torn earlobe is seen with more and more frequency by Dr. Schwarcz in his New York practices. Piercing too close to the edge of the earlobe, wearing heavy loop earrings, hereditary factors or trauma can all account for a torn or stretched out earlobe. At the same time, some patients undergo this procedure for purely aesthetic reasons even where their ear lobe may not be damaged at all. Piercing an earlobe puts the earlobe at risk to tear. The result may be a partially or completely torn earlobe. Repair of a torn earlobe is performed with a local anesthetic. The technique of repair itself is entirely related to the extent of the tear, amount of tissue available, and location of the tear. This reconstructive procedure consists of “freshening” the edges of the split and the placement of sutures to complete the repair of the earlobe, or creating flaps that incorporate the thickness of the earlobe for a good re-approximation. Multiple fine sutures are placed, spanning the wound. These sutures should be removed within one to two weeks after the procedure.
Different types of earlobe repair
Depending on the deformity, earlobe reconstruction can take different forms. In all methods performed in our New York offices, the skin lining the slot is removed, creating a raw edge, allowing flaps of adjacent tissue to be brought together. When tissue has been lost, however, the procedure is more complicated, and reconstruction involves creating normal proportions around a somewhat small ear.
Piercing an earlobe also puts it at risk for the development of a keloid. A keloid is a scar that grows beyond the edges of the pierced opening in the earlobe and is a thick, nodular, itchy cluster of scar tissue that is often red or darker in color than the surrounding skin. Keloids are generally treated first by medical management where a steroid is directly injected into them. If this fails, then radiation may be the next treatment followed by surgical excision with the understanding that they frequently recur. Sutures are removed one to two weeks after the procedure. Patients are instructed to wait three months before re-piercing them.
Contact our New York offices today to schedule a consultation to learn more about earlobe repair and what is entailed.