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Dr John Di Saia, an orange county california plastic surgeon

Earlobe Repair

Earlobe injuries are commonly caused by earrings. They can be simple or complicated, but more often than not can be repaired in the office under local anesthesia. A few examples follow:

    Case 1
Simple Earlobe Tear Before Repair
Simple Earlobe Repair 2 Years After

    This woman had torn her earlobe when an earring pulled sharply. The injury basically split the earlobe and it healed that way. This is not uncommon. Earlobe repair was performed in the office under local anesthesia. Above she appears two years later with a repaired earlobe and a mature thin scar. The doctor recommends that the earlobe not be pierced for at least 6-8 weeks after surgery and that the new piercing be off the scar by 1 mm or more. These repairs can breakdown requiring re-operation, so the longer the patient can wait before re-piercing the better.

    Case 2

Complex Earlobe Repair Before Repair
Complex Earlobe Repair 2 Months After

    This young man in an attempt to make his earlobe accommodate larger earrings had sequentially stretched it. It became infected and broke down. The cosmetic deformity was significant as the connection to the cheek was damaged and the remaining earlobe appeared peculiar. This earlobe reconstruction was designed for two stages under local in the office. After the first procedure, the connection to the cheek was re-established. At this point, the patient was pleased and did not desire the second stage. The doctor does not recommend re-piercing a complex repair such as this one for fear it may break down. Similarly, he would not recommend that earrings be worn for the same reason.

    Case 3

Ear Plug Hole Repair Before
Ear Plug Hole Repair 2 Weeks After

    This man had stretched his earlobes to wear ear plugs. Then later he wanted to join the military. He was basically told by his recruiter that these holes would have to be repaired to allow him to do so. We recommend that our patients remove their plugs for at least a few months to allow the holes to shrink down a bit. After that period, this gent had repair in the office under local. Two weeks afterward he appears improved although the scars improve over the first few months to a year. In cases in which the earlobes are stretched too much, such nice results are not possible. This was a straight-forward case. We see a prospective patient in consultation to evaluate the possibilities for improvement before deciding to offer that patient surgery.

Health insurance considers earlobe repairs to be cosmetic. The office will not bill your insurance for such a repair, but the cost of simple repairs starts at around $600/side. You are welcome to try to bill your insurance for reimbursement if you wish.


© John Di Saia, MD... an Orange County California Plastic Surgeon       

Serving Southern California since 1997 * (949) 369-5932


Please note that this resource is offered freely to individuals considering cosmetic surgery. No rights are granted and it is not to be reprinted or copied without the author's prior written consent. Understand that some of the information presented may be a matter of professional opinion. Although efforts have been made to assure accuracy, no guarantees are expressed or implied.