Split Earlobe Repair

Ear piercings can stretch and occasionally result in a tear of the earlobe. Some patients have deliberately stretched their earlobes (tribal ears) but now wish this repaired. For both scenarios, repairing the deformity is a short procedure under local anaesthetic but needs to be performed properly so that healing does not occur with an indentation. The procedure can be performed as an out-patient procedure.

The surgery itself is a simple and should only last for 15 minutes. During the procedure local anaesthetic is administered to numb the area. The tear is excised and the edges freshened, so that they will knit together properly. A small tongue of tissue is used to recreate the earring hole and ensure that it is supported, so that it does not rip through again. The raw edges are carefully stitched together to ensure that there is no step in the tissue. The sutures used need removing at 5 days in the dressing clinic.

Complications are infrequent and usually minor. However, no surgery is without risk and it is important that you are aware of the complications associated with this procedure.

There will be some discomfort for the first day. Occasionally bruising may occur, but this should rapidly resolve.

Scar – scars are very small and should be barely perceptible. However, some patients can heal with thick scars and this can make them more noticeable.

Bruising – this is uncommon but may take a couple of weeks to settle.

Infection – this is rare but may require a course of antibiotics.

DVT/PE/fat embolus – following any surgical procedure it is possible to develop a blood clot in your legs, which could potentially break off and move to your lungs. If the blood clot is large enough it could prove fatal. In order to reduce any risks of this we give you special stockings to wear in bed and a blood thinning injection if you are not mobile.

Re-splitting – if you continue to wear heavy earrings then there is a chance that the earlobe could tear again.

All the risks will be discussed in detail at your consultation. However, if you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to discuss these with meeon. Decisions about cosmetic surgery should never be rushed and you are strongly encouraged to do your own personal research.

No dressings are required.

As long as you are feeling well after the operation, you will be able to go home.

Before you leave the hospital, a follow up appointment will be booked to remove your sutures at 5 days. I will normally see you between 4 and 6 weeks, unless you need to see me sooner. You will not be able to drive yourself home from hospital, just in case you feel faint. It is often a good idea to arrange a lift with someone you know who can look after you.

If you are feeling well you can return to work as soon as you wish. Try to avoid swimming for the first couple of weeks, as the scars will still be weaker than normal skin and there is a chance of infection. I would recommend avoiding earrings for at least 8 weeks and using light earrings – less than 5 grams – or preferably clip-on earrings in the future.

Anne Dancey

I hope you find this information useful. If you have any questions or require a little more information then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Anne Dancey

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon FRCS(Plast), MBChB(Hons), MMedSci(Hons) and MCh(PASP)