What Is Ear Repair?
Ear/Earlobe repair is aimed at recreating and restructuring the ear to create balance and symmetry. The most common reasons patients seek out repair of the ear are for tears caused by earrings or stretching caused by ear gauges. This procedure is done in the office and as an outpatient procedure. Much like all things we do, the approach is individualized to each patient and different techniques are used to optimize each patient’s result.
Earlobe repair may be appropriate for people who have suffered an injury such as a tear. This may result from having an earring pulled out or by wearing heavy earrings consistently enough for the earlobe to eventually split. The procedure may also be done to correct disfigurement caused by overly-stretched earlobes or scar tissue that has resulted from stretching the earlobes too quickly. Ideal candidates for earlobe repair are in good general health and understand what this minor procedure can and cannot do. Earlobe repair may not be appropriate for people with a history of keloid scars.
If you want to know if you are a good candidate for earlobe repair, the best way to find out definitively is to schedule a consultation in our St. Louis office. Dr. Steitz can examine your injury and discuss how earlobe repair may be done to restore the natural shape of your ears.
Ideal Candidates for Earlobe Repair
How Is Earlobe Repair Done?
Earlobe repair is a minor surgical procedure that is performed in the office. It takes between 15 and 30 minutes for the doctor to reshape and close extended, stretched, or torn tissue. Before beginning, Dr. Steitz injects a local anesthetic to numb the area. This takes effect very quickly. Then, the proper technique is performed to reshape the earlobe to look natural and proportionate to the rest of the ear. In most cases, the earlobe is repaired by first removing the scar tissue that has resulted from a tear or stretching. The “clean” edges of the skin are then stitched together. A dressing is placed over the ear and should remain in place for 24 hours.
What Results Should I Expect After Earlobe Repair Surgery?
Earlobe repair achieves immediately visible results. After 24 hours, swelling and redness should be nearly resolved and the earlobe should look proportionate to the rest of the ear. The results of earlobe repair can be long-lasting. They may last indefinitely if you do not wear heavy earrings or gauges after your treatment.
Will I Have Scarring After Earlobe Repair?
Yes. Scar tissue is an unavoidable side effect of surgery. While earlobe repair is a minor office procedure, it does involve altering the skin and inserting incisions. The external scars from earlobe repair are typically minimal and barely noticeable. It is the internal scar tissue that cannot be seen that must be accounted for if you wish to have your ears pierced in the future. Scarring can make it more difficult to pierce the same location that had been pierced previously.
Can I Re-Pierce My Ears After Earlobe Repair?
Yes. It is possible to re-pierce the ears after having earlobe repair, but not right away. Piercing should be performed by a skilled piercer or doctor who has been made aware of the repair. Patients may have this done 6 or more weeks after their procedure.
Recovery After Earlobe Repair
Earlobe repair is a minor procedure after which patients can resume normal activities right away. For the first 24 hours, the ear is covered with gauze. Some patients prefer to stay at home until they can remove this dressing. Post-treatment pain is minimal, though, so activities are not limited after the procedure. Patients may return to work and most normal activities the day after their earlobe repair. However, it is necessary to avoid placing any pressure on the ears for about one week. If you have earlobe repair, you will need to avoid sleeping with your ear to the pillow. Activities that require you to wear a helmet that covers your ears will also need to be avoided for a short time.
Earlobe Repair Aftercare
Aftercare for patients who have earlobe repair is very simple. It is necessary to avoid showering for 24 hours after the procedure and not to submerge the head in water for several days. Showering may resume a day after earlobe repair. Patients must wait to swim or submerge the head until sutures are removed. The doctor may also advise you to apply antibiotic ointment several times a day for a few days.
Will Insurance Cover Earlobe Repair?
Some insurance companies may pay a portion of the cost of earlobe repair. If you are planning to have this procedure, you need to contact your insurance company for exact coverage details based on your plan. Coverage may differ based on whether your doctor is considered in-network or out-of-network. If you have questions, our staff may be able to assist you.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
To learn more about Earlobe Repair and to determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure, call St. Louis Facial Plastic Surgery as 314-475-3700. We serve St. Louis, MO and the surrounding areas.