Split earlobes: why they happen and how we fix them

Written by: Miss Sujatha Tadiparthi
Published:
Edited by: Emma McLeod

Split earlobes are caused by wearing earrings or injury, and can be in the form of a complete tear or an elongated earlobe. Fortunately, we can repair split earlobes with a quick, minor procedure.

A woman holding two different large earrings in front of her earlobes and smiling into the camera

How split or elongated earlobes occur

Split or elongated ear lobes can result from either:

  1. The long-term use of heavy earrings.
  2. As a result of injury if the lobe is torn by a pulled earring.

 

There may either be a full length, complete tear of the lobe or there just may be an elongation of both the lobe and the earring hole. Certain modern ear piercings can also lead to an enlarged earring hole.

 

How we repair split earlobes

Split earlobe repair is performed under local anaesthetic, with each earlobe repair taking around 30 minutes to complete. You should be able to go home shortly after the procedure.

  1. The split or elongated area of the lobe is marked out to be removed as a wedge.
  2. Local anaesthetic is injected to numb the area and the earlobe will usually stay numb for around 3 to 4 hours following the injection.
  3. The split or elongated section of the lobe is carefully cut out.
  4. The wound is cauterised to stop any bleeding
  5. The two sides of the ear lobe are then brought together with stitches.
  6. A dressing is applied to the wound and will stay there until the sutures are removed.
  7. The skin stitches will need to be removed at around 7 to 10 days in the dressing clinic.

 

Risks of split earlobe repair

There will be a permanent scar over the earlobe after the repair. Most people who undergo split earlobe repair make a good recovery without any other significant complications. However, is important to be aware of the other potential risks of surgery:

  • poor lumpy scarring (called hypertrophic or keloid scars)
  • wound infection
  • bruising
  • swelling
  • altered sensation
  • poor healing or wound separation
  • recurrence of the tear
  • a notched earlobe next to the scar

 

Recovery

After the repair, it should be possible for you to return to work the next day. The stitches used in the operation are usually removed at 7 to 10 days in the dressing clinic. Once the stitches are removed, the scar should be gently massaged daily with a simple aqueous moisturising cream or bio-oil.

 

Walking and other gentle exercises are fine straight after surgery, but swimming and heavy cardiovascular exercise (e.g. jogging or gym classes) should be avoided for 2 to 3 weeks because they can increase the risk of wound separation and wound infection.

 

Getting ears pierced and wearing earrings after earlobe repair

Following surgery, ear lobes should not be pierced and earrings should not be worn for at least 3 months. Before then, the scar is still weak and prone to tearing again especially if heavy earrings are worn once again.

 

The cost of a split or elongated earlobe repair

The cost of split earlobe repair itself can be from £700. But this varies according to

  1. The extent of the tear or elongation
  2. Whether one or both sides need to be repaired

 

Miss Sujatha Tadiparthi is an extensively trained and skilled plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Discover how she can help you by visiting her Top Doctors profile.

By Miss Sujatha Tadiparthi
Plastic surgery

Miss Sujatha Tadiparthi is a UK educated and trained, fully accredited plastic surgeon who has over 15 years of experience in the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery. Based in Surrey, Kent, and Central London, Miss Tadiparthi specialises in breast reduction and augmentation, breast uplift (mastopexy), skin surgery (moles, skin tags, cysts, lypomas) and post-weight loss  and body contouring surgery, including tummy tuck, arm lift, thigh lift, lower body lift, and liposuction

Miss Tadiparthi graduated from Cardiff medical school in 2002. By 2008, she completed her basic surgical training and undertook additional surgical research. Miss Tadiparthi then completed her basic surgical training and undertook additional surgical research. Miss Tadiparthi then completed her specialist plastic surgery training in the UK and passed the plastic surgery examination by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (FRCS plas) in 2013. Following this, she gained further specialised training in breast surgery, breast and limb reconstruction and microsurgery.

A prestigious cosmetic fellowship at the London Wellington Hospital allowed her to work with some leading cosmetic surgeons in London and gain a wide breadth of training in cosmetic surgery including breast, facial and body contouring procedures. After gaining a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) in the UK, she was entered into the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC) specialist register for plastic surgery in 2014.

Miss Tadiparthi’s extensive specialist plastic surgery training in the UK has allowed her to gain considerable experience in both cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgical techniques and she often combines these two complimentary fields to get the best possible outcome for her patients.

Miss Tadiparthi is one of the few female plastic surgeons offering private plastic and cosmetic surgery in London, Surrey, and Kent. Having a warm and friendly nature, patients often feel very comfortable in her presence and feel free to share their concerns and needs with her. At the consultation, she will spend time to go through your concerns and advise if surgery is appropriate and what surgical or non-surgical options are available to you. The procedures offered are individualised and tailored to suit your particular needs and expectations.

As a full member of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), she endeavours to provide the safest and best possible care to her patients.

Miss Tadiparthi's personal website can be found here

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