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Earlobe Repair FAQ

Your Earlobe Repair Questions Answered By Dr. Neavin

What are some of the common earlobe procedures?

The most common earlobe deformities are split earlobes, enlarged piercing holes, and elongated earlobes. The first two are related to trauma.  Big earlobes often result from prolonged use of heavy earrings or just aging.

What is a split earlobe deformity?

A split earlobe is basically a separation of the skin causing a split-like appearance.

What causes a split earlobe?

Split earlobes are almost always caused by piercings and trauma related to piercings. Other causes may include bites or other trauma.

What is an earlobe reduction?

An earlobe reduction is a procedure that restores a smaller, more youthful looking earlobe. The procedure is done in the office and is often combined with other facial rejuvenation procedures such as face lift or facial fat grafting.

Why do my earlobes continue to grow?

You are normal if you have noticed that your earlobes are larger now than they were, let’s say, 20 years ago. Earlobes and the nose are two components of the face that continue to enlarge over time. Even men and women who have no history of wearing earings will see growth in their earlobes.

What type of anesthesia is used for earlobe surgery?

Earlobe repairs can be performed in the office under local anesthesia. However, they are commonly performed with other facial rejuvenation procedures such as facelift and fat grafting that often require the person to be asleep.

Walk me through an earlobe reduction or split lobe repair

You will arrive to the office. It is ok to have eaten or drank fluids before the procedure. While sitting, topical numbing medicine will be applied to your earlobes and around the lower part of your ear. Local anesthesia will then be injected into the lobe and around portions of the ear. The ear will be wiped with either alcohol or betadine, and you may be re-positioned on your side or lying down. Sterile drapes are placed around the ear and you are tested to see if the earlobe is numb. Once totally anesthetized, the incisions are made and closed with stitches. Bacitracin and a bandage will be applied.

How long does the procedure last?

Each earlobe can take about 30 minutes to complete.

How much time off work or school is required?

No time off work or school is required after the most common earlobe procedures. However, you will have some mild swelling and stitches may be visible for up to 7 days after surgery.

Will I have permanent or dissolvable stitches?

It depends. Most procedures where the incisions are made behind the ear receive dissolvable stitches. Permanent stitches that will need to be removed are placed in areas of more visibility.

Do stitches need to come out?

Some may need to come out and others may stay in and dissolve. If the dissolvable ones don’t dissolve by 2 weeks they can be removed in the office.

When can the earlobe be re-pierced after earlobe repair?

Sometimes the earlobe can be re-pierced the same day following the procedure. In other cases, it is wise to let the swelling subside which may take 3 weeks.

What are the risks and complications of earlobe repair?

Every procedure carries some type of risk.  However, earlobe repairs are a very safe operation. The most common complications include issues related to healing such as poor scar, “notch” where skin meets, and infection. Revisions can always be made. It should be noted that smokers tend to heal poorly sometimes and every effort should be made to avoid nicotine products at least 4 weeks before the procedure to optimize the scar.

Will I have a scar?

Virtually every external incision on the adult body will form type of scar. A scar is the natural healing response. Everyone has their own genetic predisposition to scarring. Some will heal so well that the scar is virtually invisible to the human eye. Others may keloid. The best marker for scarring is prior scars. The second is a good surgical closure with appropriate suture selection and timely removal of stitches, followed by sunscreen, massaging, and scar creams.

The scars for earlobe reduction are camouflaged well in the natural contours of the ear. For split ear repairs, the may follow natural contours of may run through the earlobe. It depends on the earlobe.

When can I exercise after surgery?

It is wise to avoid strenuous exercise for 48 hours after earlobe surgery to reduce chance of bleeding and to reduce pain.

Can I drive home after surgery?

Generally, one can drive after surgery unless anxiolytics like valium or narcotics were taken.

When can I shower or wash my hair?

One can shower the next day as long as common sense is exercised. Don’t scrub the area. The most gentle shampoo is Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo.

Are there any prescription pills I’ll need to take?

Generally, narcotics will not be needed but a prescription can be provided if necessary. Antibiotics may be taken for a few days following surgery.

When do I follow up after surgery?

Follow up is generally 5 to 7 days after surgery. Then, a few weeks later to ensure proper healing.

Are there any medications I should avoid before surgery?

Earlobe surgery is a surface operation. There is no risk to any major vessels or nerves. However, bleeding into the surgical site can make the operation less precise than desired or delay wound healing. To that end, anything that can be avoided a week before surgery that can cause bleeding should be. Discuss with your doctor before stopping any medication.

Artisan of Beauty | Dr. Timothy Neavin
9615 Brighton Way, STE 303 Beverly HillsCA90210 USA 
 • 310-858-8811