I have Split Ear Lobes…now what?

Repairing a split earlobe is a pretty common event in our office yet we are surprised to learn that a lot of our patients had lived with split lobes for years. Unaware that repair was possible.

The whole process takes about 10 minutes per ear and is done in the office. We numb the ear with a shot of local anesthetic, remove the extra skin that has grown over the split, and repair it with sutures. And then you hop up and go along your way.

We need to remove the sutures at about 1 week and you can re-pierce the ear at about the 3 month mark. Problem solved!

Lee Corbett, MD

Split Earlobe repair. What’s this entail?

Split earlobes are fairly common, particularly amongst the women who had their heyday back in the ’80’s when larger, heavier earrings were the style. A second wave is also starting to hit my office with all of the gauging of earlobes. While a gauge deforms the lobe shape more than a common split, the repair process is fundamentally the same.

So what does the repair involve? Well, it’s actually a pretty quick procedure. I do it in the office and use local anesthesia. So the split or gauge area is injected with lidocaineĀ®. The lidocaine stings a little bit but this only lasts a matter of seconds. The area is numb almost immediately. We clean the ear off to sterilize the skin and then the repair is begun. You can’t sew skin to skin, it would separate the minute the sutures were taken out, so I need to cut away the skin thatĀ  lines the split or gauge. This literally takes about 20 seconds. Then the earlobe is sutured back together with a very fine stitch. You will have stitches on the front of the earlobe and on the back. Total repair time is usually 10 minutes or less and then you’re on your way!

Sutures come out in one week and you can re-pierce in 3 months.

Lee Corbett, MD

Medical Director Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and MediSpa

Earlobe Rejuvenation

Earlobe rejuvenation. Sounds kind of weird but it’s actually a pretty common request and something that I fix pretty commonly. What tends to happen is that through a combination of aging and years of wearing heavier earrings, the lobe will thin and stretch. The piercing hole also tends to elongate giving the ear a creased appearance or in some cases it is actually split. In the case of a thinned, deflated lobe we use dermal fillers to re-establish the volume. Typically this means either Restylane or Juvederm. The cost for the filler is around $500 and should last over a year. The good thing here is that there will be extra filler after the lobes are plumped and this can be used somewhere else on the face. If the lobules are split, I can repair this with a minor office procedure. The ear is numbed with local anesthesia and the split is removed and then with a few stitches the earlobe is repaired. This takes about 5 minutes and there is no downtime or recovery. Pain medicine isn’t even necessary. You can re-pierce the ear but you have to wait 3 months. A lot of times the ear isn’t split but the hole is so large it appears it is split. I treat this just like a split lobe and repair it as described above. If the lobe has just gotten too large and droopy a small wedge is removed and the earlobe made smaller. This is often coupled with the Restylane and Juvederm treatments. A last category of earlobe problems that I am seeing in our younger patients are the gauged lobes. These repairs are more complicated and a little trickier but they can still be carried out under local anesthesia in the office. The repairs tend to take a little longer, maybe about 10 minutes a side. After the recovery is the same as a simple split.

Lee Corbett, MD

Medical Director: Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and MediSpa