In Worcester, you see all kinds of earrings; they’re a popular fashion accessory for the face. Big hoops, heavy danglers, even gauges — they all are saying something about the wearer’s style. Unfortunately, your earlobes didn’t get to vote on your choices for ear adornment. As a result, they can be torn, stretched, or otherwise damaged by your earring choices.
At UMass Memorial Health our six plastic surgeons perform otoplasty, ear surgery, to repair patient’s earlobes.
How are earlobes damaged?
There are two ways the earlobe usually becomes torn or overly stretched: trauma or by wearing heavy, large earrings.
Trauma can happen by catching an earring on clothing, your brush, even on bushes when out walking. If you pick up a small child, he or she might grab that shiny earring right in front of their eyes. The earring can tear right through the bottom of the lobe, or it can stretch the piercing to a degree it won’t close up.
Weight or diameter is the other cause. Today many earrings have become heavier and larger. The problem with this is that the weight can pull down and enlarge the original earring piecing to the degree it is visible to others.
Earrings are also growing in diameter, the ultimate example being gauges. Gauges are discs placed in the earlobe. If left in place long enough, when these gauges are removed the hole they created cannot close up and will need surgery to do so.
Who is a candidate for earlobe repair?
Obviously, candidates for this surgery have torn or elongated piecing tracts. The tears can be partial or complete — that doesn’t change the procedure to repair them.
These injuries don’t have to be recent to be repaired. If the patient, for instance, split her earlobe and was hoping it would heal on its own, yet it hasn’t, she can come to UMass Memorial and we can still repair it. The only difference is that we will have to remove the healed skin at the tear.
How is earlobe repair performed?
This is not a difficult procedure. Your UMass Memorial surgeon first injects local anesthetic into the lobe and surrounding ear. Next, to ensure the skin will heal back together, he or she cuts away the healed skin on the inside of the torn earlobe. If the lobe has been freshly torn, this excision of healed tissue won’t be necessary, but the patient has to present soon after the injury occurs.
Once the healed skin has been removed, we suture the two sides back together. We are very careful with placement of the sutures to not create a “pointed” end result.
Do you have a damaged earlobe? Call the team at UMass Memorial Medical Group, (508) 334-5990, to schedule a consultation for otoplasty or earlobe repair.