Stretched ear piercings and Earlobe repair
Stretched piercings of the earlobe occur over time but can occur as a result of low piercings or wearing heavy earrings over a long period of time. The piercing continues to elongate and can result in a complete earlobe tear requiring an earlobe repair.
Earlobe repair is a commonly performed in-office procedure where the scar tissue from the piercing is removed and the edges of the ear lobe and the piercing are stitched back together in multiple layers using absorbable sutures. The earlobe repair is very well tolerated, performed under local anesthesia, uses absorbable skin colored sutures, and takes 20 minutes per earlobe.
Some individuals have multiple piercings on the same ear lobe. If the piercings are too close together, performing an earlobe repair on piercings that are too close together can cause problems with healing and/or scarring. In this case, some of the piercing can be closed at one time, and a second stage, usually 3 weeks later, is required to close the remainder of the piercings or tears.
Earlobes stretched by chronic gauge usage is a special subtype of stretched earlobes. Earlobe repair in these individuals takes a plastic surgeon who specializes in the face to repair. Not only does the elongated piercing and earlobe need to be reduced and extra skin removed, but a normal earlobe also has to be recreated which can be challenging.