Earlobes split for a variety of reasons. Most often, heavy, dangling earrings are the culprit. Other times, however, it could be an improper piercing, a skin condition or even just a plain, old accident. No matter the reason, a split earlobe is unsightly and could also be painful. There is also the danger of infection. There are techniques, however, for earlobe slit repair; these are generally outpatient procedures that are performed under local anesthesia by our board-certified dermatologic surgeon Dr. C.W. Hanke right here in our Indiana dermatology practice.
Pros and Cons of Getting Earlobe Slit Repair
The obvious advantage to earlobe slit repair is that your ear will no longer be damaged. The procedure isn’t complicated, so there is only minimal risk. General anesthetic is not required, so that lessens the risk even further. In rare cases, there might be complications; however, your dermatologist will consult with you before the procedure and discuss any possible adverse effects and how to prevent them, such as infection, swelling or damage after the repair.
Earlobe Slit Repair: Frequently Asked Questions
The dermatologist will remove the skin adjacent to the tear and suture the remaining halves of the earlobe back together again. In some cases, a gel is also injected to make the earlobe fuller as it heals.
The procedure is simple enough that it can be done in the office on an outpatient basis and under local anesthesia.
Good candidates will have one or more of the following conditions:
- A split or torn earlobe
- An elongated ear piercing site
- Overly stretched earlobes
- Keloid formation
During the procedure, we will inject a local anesthetic to numb the area. As with any surgery, there is likely to be some pain afterward. Usually, patients don’t need a prescription painkiller for any more than two or three days after which over-the-counter pain medication should be sufficient. Patients only experience unmanageable pain very rarely. To reduce pain, we recommend icing the area afterward and avoid laying down on the treated ear.
Unless there are complications, earlobe slit repair is a straightforward procedure that seldom takes more than 60 minutes.
As far as the repair itself, the result is instantaneous. When it comes to wearing earrings again, a good benchmark is from six to 10 weeks. After the doctor gives permission for re-piercing, it’s a good idea to have Dr. Hanke and our team perform the piercing as he already knows where the weak spot in the lobe is and can avoid it during re-piercing.
The repairs are designed to be permanent. Of course, should they be re-pierced, repaired earlobes are subject to the same stresses that tore them in the first place, such as heavy earrings or accidents.
Because this is an in-office procedure, there is no downtime in the traditional sense; however, it is recommended not to work out, shower or swim for at least seven days after surgery.
As with any surgery, possible infection is the No. 1 complication. Patients should keep the area covered and dry for seven days to prevent it. There might also be unusual scarring, such as a depressed linear scar. The dermatologist will cover all of these possibilities in the initial consultation.
The best way to get more information is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hanke at the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of Indiana. He and our team will be happy to answer any questions you have about your earlobe slit repair. In the meantime, we recommend consulting sources such as the American Academy of Dermatology for more information.