Fixing stretched earlobes | 4 things you need to know

Mr Sanjay Verma Mr Sanjay Verma Consultant Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) Surgeon at Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital
Consultant Ear Surgeon Mr Sanjay Verma explains four things you should know about having your stretched earlobes surgically repaired.

Stretched earlobes, or skin tunnels, were all the rage a few years ago, but now a generation of body modifiers are having second thoughts. Here's what they should know about restoring their ears to normal:

1. Just because you don’t want them anymore doesn’t mean you were wrong

Expressing yourself through body modification is a centuries-old human behaviour and a very natural impulse.

Body modification remains part of a sub-culture in Western society and can clash with prevailing trends and ideas. Some people are comfortable with this clash, but for many the novelty wears off when it stands in the way of something else they want, such as a new job or partner.

It may be unjust that other people’s perceptions are affecting your choices. But wanting to change your appearance to fit in is just as valid as wanting to change your appearance to stand out.

2. We can’t fix every ear

Patients should know up front that some earlobes are simply beyond fixing. While improvements may be possible, very large skin tunnels change the shape of the ear too much to regain a natural look. So think twice before upping your earring gauge.

3. The more you stretch the harder it is to repair

The process of lobuloplasty, or earlobe repair, is generally straightforward. But the chances of a cosmetically acceptable result diminish the more your lobe is stretched. You can’t simply cut away skin and reattach it, it won’t survive. To repair your ear we excise redundant skin and may need to fashion skin flaps to achieve a natural look.

Smaller holes are relatively easy to repair; larger ones can often be repaired but are less likely to look as natural as they once did.

4. Earlobe repair can take just minutes, healing a little longer

If the surgery is appropriate for you it can take as little as 30 minutes to perform on each ear. Local anaesthetic is commonly used so you can be in and out of hospital very quickly.

Stitches are usually visible for a week and healing can take four to six weeks. But you’ll be able to get back to your normal activities straight away as long as you follow the surgeon’s advice. The scars will fade over time with proper care.

Lobuloplasty is considered a cosmetic procedure and isn’t typically covered by medical insurance but paying for yourself privately means it can be done quickly when the time is right for you.

Click here to find out more about Mr Sanjay Verma

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Last updated Wednesday 26 February 2020

First published on Monday 26 September 2016