Our earlobes have donned decorations, piercings, and rings for centuries, for the sole purpose of enhancing our appearance. Different cultures adorn this part of our ear anatomy with various devices. In our country earrings have been the main stay of these decorations. Overtime, especially with certain types of earrings, the hole can become a “slit” or even a complete tear, making earrings unwearable. In most cases this problem can be rectified with a simple cosmetic surgical procedure.
A complete medical history is obtained and a physical exam pertinent to the ear area is performed, noting the problem area. The surgical approach recommended to fix the problem is discussed. In most cases of a slit or complete tear, a wedge or similar procedure is used. Nearly every surgery of this type is done strictly under a local anesthetic in an office surgery center. Rare exceptions may require heavy sedation or general anesthesia. After discussing the surgery itself, your surgeon will review the risks and complications as well as the recovery.
Earlobe repair takes roughly 15 minutes per earlobe in uncomplicated cases. The ear lobe is anesthetized, the wedge or similar procedure marked, and the surgery performed. Normally dissolving sutures are placed and there is no special dressing applied.
Following the Procedure
Most patients go about their normal activities immediately. No special care is required. There is no pain after in 99% of cases, with the remaining 1% needing over the counter Tylenol to manage discomfort. As the sutures dissolve, “clip-on” earrings can be worn, and re-piercing is done 3-6 months after the repair.
Complications are rare, however, there are certain inherent risks connected to every surgical procedure and these should all be discussed with your surgeon prior to the procedure. All complications can be minimized by carefully following all of your doctor’s pre and post operative instructions.