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Aside from being an essential part of hearing, the ears are also often a point of interest when it comes to jewelry and other adornments. In order to frame the face and add style, earlobes as well as other areas of the ears are often pierced, supporting earrings that range from studs to hoops to gauges. However, excessive weight or physical trauma to the ears can often overpower the strength of tissue in the earlobes. This can cause a tear in the gentle earlobe tissue, which can not only be undesirable but also painful.

Earlobe tissue is composed of fatty tissue that is covered by soft skin, which is in part why ear piercings are rather popular. However, this tissue is very delicate, meaning that torn earlobes are more common than one might think. For some patients, these tears are subtle and can be covered up, but for many a torn earlobe requires medical intervention. Torn earlobe repair is a delicate procedure that can safely correct an earlobe tear, helping to heal the skin of the earlobe.

If you’ve experienced an earlobe tear, board-certified, cosmetic NYC dermatologist Dr. Michele Green is here to help. Dr. Michele Green is an expert in the art of earlobe repair, from split earlobes, to a small torn earlobe, and well placed re-piercing after the earlobe repair. Dr. Green is an internationally renown cosmetic

What Causes a Torn Earlobe?

Torn earlobes can result from continuous wearing of heavy earrings or sleeping with your earrings on. Heavy earrings stretch the delicate thin skin of the earlobe and make it more vulnerable to trauma. Some people have had their original earring hole pierced too low and over time it can stretch and tears the skin. Sometimes, accidental pulling of an earring can cause trauma and start tearing the earlobe. In the worse cases, the earlobe is torn all the way through, which results in a split earlobe or torn earlobe.

Other patients simply have sagging or drooping earlobes due to age and natural loss of collagen over time. By restoring this lost volume in the earlobes through the injection of dermal fillers such as Restylane® and Juvederm®, the earlobe is rejuvenated and it is easier to wear your earrings sitting properly on your ear.

Outside of accidental injury, it has become fashionable over the years to stretch the earlobe to insert larger ear ornaments such as “flesh tunnels” and “flesh plugs” within the earlobe itself. Over time, an increasingly larger sized hole is formed. At the earlier stages of this process, the hole can be reversed. However, as the hole in the earlobe increases in size, it becomes increasingly difficult to reverse. In these cases, the size of the hole in question will determine how best to repair the torn earlobe.

Dr. Michele Green uses the best cosmetic surgical techniques and dermal fillers to perform your torn earlobe repair and rejuvenate your torn or sagging earlobes.

Before & After of Earlobe repair – 3 months

Can a torn earlobe be repaired?

A torn earlobe can be repaired and healed through the use of torn earlobe repair techniques. Delicate surgical repair techniques can easily be used to rebuild the earlobe with very little downtime and without exacerbating scar tissue on the surface of the ear.

How to repair a torn earlobe

If you’re curious how to repair a torn earlobe, you’re likely suffering from an earlobe tear that requires medical attention. In the case of an earlobe slit, patients typically have a tear that has started at the original site of an earlobe piercing, and then has torn downward from the piercing. This type of tear does not go all the way through the earlobe, but does render a piercing too large to hold studs. In this case, the earlobe tear can easily be repaired through an in-office surgical procedure where the scarred area of the earlobe is removed, fine sutures are used to close up the hole. 

How to repair an earlobe split

An earlobe split occurs when weight from heavy earrings or a traumatic incident cause the earlobe to tear fully through, which can be very uncomfortable for a patient. In this instance, the process for earlobe repair is quite similar, and surgical repair will be needed to ensure full recovery. Either straight line, zig-zag, or v-shaped repair will be used, depending on the type of tear, and fine sutures are used to prevent any needless scarring. For most patients, the end result after the earlobe heals is a small, pencil-thin scar.

What does the Earlobe Repair Procedure entail?

During your consultation with Dr. Green for your torn earlobe repair, she will assess the length of the repair necessary and make a plan to reconstruct your torn earlobe.  Photographs are taken of the torn earlobe and local anesthesia is applied to the area. Only local anesthetic is needed and not any oral pain medication, as this is not a painful procedure. Any scar tissue or areas of skin that are torn are surgically removed with a fine scalpel and form of magnification. The tear is then surgically repaired and reconstructed to leave a smooth finish to stitch together. These fine sutures need to be left in place for two weeks and Dr. Green will review proper wound care instructions. You will return to the office in two weeks to have the stitches removed. 

How long does the torn earlobe repair take to perform?

In general, each torn earlobe repair takes 30 minutes to perform. The procedure may take longer if there is more than one tear or piercing which need to be repaired. We advise patients to refrain from swimming or saunas while the sutures and in place and the earlobe repair is healing. Patients are sent home with written instructions on how to care for the surgical site. 

What are my wound care instructions after the torn earlobe repair?

Dr. Green will instruct you to apply antibiotic ointment, such as Bacitracin ointment, to the earlobe repair surgery. If the repair was extensive, she may have you take an oral antibiotic as well. You will be advised how to take care of the area and the use of over-the-counter steristrips. In addition, you should refrain from saunas, swimming, or submerging your head under water for the first week after the stitches are removed to allow the skin to heal from your surgical procedure.

What is the recovery time from a torn earlobe repair?

The recovery is straightforward and the earlobe repair surgery will start to heal with the sutures in place.  You should continue your topical wound care and antibiotics until the sutures are removed. The two weeks after torn earlobe surgery are the most important in terms of routine topical wound care, and patients must closely follow Dr. Green’s skin care instructions for the two weeks that the sutures are in place. Steri-strips are generally placed on the site after the stitches are removed until they fall off on their own. The earlobe continues to heal on its own for several months.

When can I re-pierce my ears after an earlobe repair?

In addition to performing the earlobe repair procedure, Dr. Michele Green will have your return to her private NYC office for re-piercing the ear in the correct location, generally six weeks after the cosmetic surgery. One of the advantages of having Dr. Green perform your ear piercing is that Dr. Green ensures the correct placement of the new piercing.  Dr. Green will make sure that it is in the exact location and completely symmetric with the opposite ear. Earlobes are re-pierced only after the surgical area has completely healed from the earlobe repair procedure. 

Once Dr. Green re-pierces your ears, she will advise you to wear small earrings which have posts, similar to the stud earrings that you used to first pierce your ears. You should also refrain from wearing hanging, wires, hoops, or heavy earrings. The new skin which was repaired will be weaker than normal skin for at least three months as the area heals and new collagen is formed.


How to treat Sagging Earlobes

To treat drooping or sagging earlobes, Dr. Green often recommends Restylane or Juvederm injections in order to rejuvenate them. Using these hyaluronic acid fillers can help lift sagging earlobes and can provide more durability to take on heavy earrings. Hyaluronic acid fillers are a useful revitalization tool for the earlobes, as they use a naturally-occurring substance in the body – hyaluronic acid – to stimulate collagen production. This in turn is able to rejuvenate the skin of the earlobes, improving elasticity offering greater strength to this area of tissue.

In most cases, these “earlobe rejuvenation” or “lobe lift” treatments only take a few minutes, and there is no downtime or recovery.  Often, these earlobe injections are combined with other facial injections to create a non-surgical or “liquid facelift“. This facial rejuvenation can also be combined with chemical peels, fractionated lasers, and other cosmetic procedures.

How much does earlobe repair cost?

The price for a torn earlobe repair depends on the extent of the repair involved. A complicated repair is more expensive than a simple earlobe repair. In addition, if both earlobes are involved, the cost for the surgical procedure increases. If you’re curious how much does it cost to fix a split earlobe, the answer will vary based on the severity of the split. However, for most patients, the cost of earlobe repair varies between $1,000 and $3,000 depending on the expertise of the healthcare professional providing the treatment, as well as the complexity of the reconstructive surgery.

Does insurance cover split earlobe repair?

Though a torn earlobe can be a frustrating experience for many patients, the surgery for split earlobe repair is considered a cosmetic condition, and therefore is not covered by health insurance. However, in the case of keloid scarring, insurance companies may cover the excision of the scar. If you think you may qualify for insurance coverage for your split earlobe repair, it’s best to contact your insurance agency directly to learn more.

What other Plastic Surgery Procedures involve torn earlobe repair?

Facelifts often involve correcting the earlobe as well. Many patients who are having a full facelift, facial plastic surgery, or rhinoplasty will choose to have earlobe repair surgery performed at the same time. Some patients, it should be noted, are unhappy with the shape of their earlobes after a facelift, as the position of the ear can sometimes be affected. After surgery, there may be notching at the base of the earlobe, without the normal curved arch. These patients may need a more complicated otoplasty or other surgical repair in addition to a face or neck lift.

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What can be done for Scars from Facelift surgery?

All too often there are scars from a neck lift or facelift, rhinoplasty, ear surgery, eyelid surgery, skin cancer surgery, liposuction scars, or scars from other reconstructive surgery.  

Dr. Michele Green is an expert in treating these facial scars as well as acne scars by using the best cutting-edge lasers available in dermatology. Dr. Green uses the latest resurfacing lasers, such as Fraxel and eMatrix, and the V-Beam laser, to help treat and minimize these surgical scars. 

The Fraxel laser is an innovative skin resurfacing laser that can help to remove discoloration and pigmentation on the skin, as well as reduce the appearance of acne scars and improve overall skin texture. Fraxel® Dual relies on two wavelengths: the 1927 wavelength which is a state of the art Thulium laser, and the 1550 wavelength which is an innovative Erbium laser. The 1550 wavelength setting helps to reduce the appearance of scarring on the skin by stimulating new collagen deep within the dermis.

The eMatrix laser is another excellent option to minimize the appearance of surgical scars on the earlobe. eMatrix® uses bi-polar radiofrequency energy to heat the skin deep within the dermis while preserving the top layers of the skin, which can help to even skin texture and reduce the appearance of scarring on the skin. The eMatrix is safe to use for all skin types, and can also help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the skin.

The V-Beam laser is an outstanding laser to remove the red scars from facelifts, surgeries, or keloids in general. This pulsed dye laser is the gold standard for treating redness in acne scars as well. Dr. Green utilizes the V-Beam Perfecta, which is the next generation of V-Beam to treat redness and scarring with no recovery time.

How do I treat Keloid Scars on my earlobes?

Depending on the size of your keloids, it may require surgery to remove the keloid. Keloids are a hereditary form of raised scar tissue that can develop due to injuries to the skin, such as an ear piercing. Typically, patients with darker skin tones are more prone to developing keloids. These keloids typically grow behind the ears and are a result of ear piercing. Smaller keloid scars may be able to be treated with cortisone injections alone to shrink them. Dr. Green also recommends using Kelo-cote topically for these keloid scars.

If you develop keloid scars due to an ear piercing, intralesional cortisone injections into the earlobe may be right for you. Cortisone injections are able to reduce the scar tissue within the ear, helping to flatten the scar and reduce the overall appearance of the keloid. Additonally, if you experience redness or discoloration due to keloids, Dr. Green may recommend the V-Beam® laser. The V-Beam laser is a gentle skin resurfacing laser that works to reduce redness on the surface of the skin, and is an excellent treatment for patients dealing with keloids, rosacea, prominent veins, acne scars, or facial redness. It’s an excellent way treat the redness of this type of scar without the need for downtime.

Gauge Earrings and Repair of stretched earlobe

Gauge earrings are a popular trend in which the skin of the earlobe is stretched around a small ring, called a gauge. When you gauge the ears, the earlobe skin is weakened, which can lead to damage of the ears. Though smaller gauges can be removed and the earlobe will be restored to its previous size, larger gauges often lead to permanently stretched earlobes, with holes that are too large to support traditional earrings. Earlobe stretching can also occur through consistent use of heavy earrings, as well as continually sleeping with earrings in well after the piercing is fully established.

In order to reduce the appearance of gauged or stretched earlobes, a much more complicated repair is required that includes earlobe reduction surgery. This earlobe reduction surgery will involve an incision in the crease between the earlobe and cheek, removal of the overstretched tissue of the earlobe, and fine sutures to reconnect the earlobe. In the case of this more complicated surgery, it is vital that you work with an experienced earlobe repair healthcare professional to achieve your desired results.

Will a torn earlobe heal itself?

Unfortunately, when it comes to torn earlobes, split earlobes, and stretched earlobes, the earlobe is quite unlikely to heal on its own. In some cases, patients may opt to live with a minor tear in the earlobe, provided it isn’t impacting their daily life. However, for many, a torn earlobe can be a very frustrating or uncomfortable experience. Torn earlobe repair is the best solution to promote healing within the skin of the earlobe, and to prevent unwanted scarring or damage to the earlobe.

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How to repair torn earlobes at home

If you are dealing with a torn earlobe, you should not attempt to treat the torn earlobe at home. For patients who experience a tear in the earlobe due to sudden pulling or a rip, it’s best not to apply ice or a cold compress directly to the skin of the wound, as this can restrict circulation and may lead to a delay in the healing process. Instead, it’s good to place gauze over the wound, apply a cool compress, and head to a healthcare professional. Dr. Green has had success repairing a variety of torn earlobes ,and the safety and satisfaction of her patients is her top priority. 

Can you glue a split earlobe?

When it comes to torn or split earlobe repair, it is important to consider the safety of a potential treatment. It is not recommended under any circumstance that a patient glue a split earlobe. Using glue on a split earlobe will be less effective than a surgical procedure, and using glue on a wound can put patients at risk for infection and potentially prevent the earlobe from healing. If you are facing a torn or split earlobe, it is always best to consult a dermatologist or plastic surgeon prior to attempting any treatment. Dr. Green is an expert who will be able to carefully and artfully repair your torn earlobe, and will be able to ensure that any risk of infection or side effects is highly limited.

Who performs the torn earlobe repair?

Dr. Michele Green performs torn earlobe repairs in her New York City private dermatology office. It is always best to consult a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon when considering having a torn earlobe repair. When choosing a cosmetic physician in New York, it is always best to consult with the most experienced surgeon to assure the best cosmetic results for your torn earlobe repair. The combination of careful surgical repair with proper post-procedure skin care can lead to a fast recovery for any earlobe tear.

Though Dr. Green supports wider accessibility of torn earlobe reconstructive surgery, it’s always important that patients consider working with a professional that prioritizes the look of the repair in order to best support patients. Additionally, more dramatic piercing holes such as those caused by larger gauging require a high level of expertise in order to ensure that a complicated repair is correctly addressed. Dr. Green has two and a half decades of experience with torn earlobe and earlobe reduction procedures, and will work with you to create an artful reconstruction of the earlobe.

How do I get started today with repairing my torn earlobe?

If you are suffering from an earlobe tear, stretched earlobe, split earlobe, or keloid, there are elegant ways to repair and restore your earlobe tissue. Dr. Michele Green has been repairing torn earlobes for over 25 years in her private NYC office. A board certified, cosmetic dermatologist located in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Dr. Green is consistently voted as one of the best dermatologists in New York by Castle Connolly, The New York Times, Super Doctors, and New York Magazine. Please call us today at 212-535-3088[/tel or contact us online to find out more about how Dr. Green can help with torn earlobe repair.

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