Ear Lobe Repair
Unlike the rest of the ear, where it is supported by cartilage, muscle, and ligaments, the ear lobe is compromised of only skin and fat. Therefore, the earlobe is susceptible to injury, especially if there is a pre-existing piercing or gauge. Disfiguring earlobe tears may occur in the setting of trauma, a forceful tug on an indwelling earring, or from the weakening and thinning of earlobe tissue from wearing heavy earrings over time. Earlobes can also become overly-stretched or tear from wearing gauged earrings.
The earlobe can be repaired under local anesthesia and usually takes about 30-45 minutes. The contour of the earlobe is re-established with the help of careful suturing. An enlarged earlobe can be reduced at the same time.
Pain following earlobe repair is generally quite mild. Medications such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen are usually sufficient for pain control. Wound care involves keeping the sutures clean and applying an antibiotic ointment on the sutures twice a day for 2 weeks. The sutures are usually removed at 10 days. Most patients can return to normal activity after 48 hours. The earlobes may be pierced again after it has healed sufficiently. Each case is different, so ask your doctor when would be a good time to pierce the ear lobe again.