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Earlobe Repair in New Jersey

Cosmetic surgery of the face also deals with many issues other than aging. Those beautiful heavy, dangling earrings can damage your earlobe over time, stretching the skin and causing the earlobe to split. As the earring “hole” gets larger, it becomes harder to keep your earrings from falling out. You don’t need to wait until the lobe splits to repair this.

Is it Possible to Restore a Youthful, Smaller Earlobe?

Board Certified Female Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Beverly Friedlander

As we age the body changes. This includes the face. There are many structural changes that occur deep in the tissue that cause a change in shape or appearance. The same is true for the ear. The earlobe can be restored to a more youthful size with a minor surgery performed in the comfort of our office under local anesthesia.

What Causes a “Torn Earlobe”?

NJ Earlobe Repair

Earrings are so beautiful, but potentially damaging. A torn earlobe can be caused by trauma, or by the sheer weight of the jewelry pulling through the tissue over time.

Earlobe Trauma or Injury

An injury to the earlobe can leave the earlobe permanently damaged, often requiring surgical correction. Though your earlobe may be injured in other ways, the most common type of earlobe trauma is a ripped or torn earlobe resulting from an earring being pulled or overstretching the piercing. The earrings can get caught on clothing or accidentally pulled. While an earlobe injury by itself is not a concern medically, it can cause self-consciousness and prevent you from wearing your favorite jewelry.

Heavy Earrings

Over time, heavy earrings can gradually pull at your earlobe piercing, causing it to stretch and, in some cases, even tear. To preserve the elasticity and form of your earlobe, it is important to limit your use of heavy jewelry and use proper supportive backs to secure and stabilize your earrings.

Plugs, Gauges, or Tunnel Earrings/malposition

More recently, we have been getting requests to repair the large holes caused by tunnel earrings. Plugs, gauges, or tunnel earrings are types of jewelry that require stretching the piercing to accommodate gauge sizes that exceed that of traditional earrings. With continued stretching or pulling, the earlobe can eventually rip. It is important to note that, even without ripping, stretching can cause permanent damage that often prevents the earlobe from returning to its original form.

Wearing Tight or Ill-Fitting Earrings

Earrings that are too tight or ill-fitting can cause damage to the earlobe. An earring that is secured too tightly prevents air from reaching the earlobe and can also cause cuts or scratches. Similarly, earrings that do not fit may scratch, pull, pinch, or tear the earlobe. Each of these conditions can often lead to discomfort or infection.


Earlobe infection can be caused by a wide variety of factors, including trauma, improper jewelry, a reaction to metal jewelry, and hygiene. A cut, scrape, or tear opens up the earlobe to bacteria that can quickly infect the tissue, causing redness, tenderness, swelling, pain, bleeding, or oozing.

With proper treatment of your infection, it is still possible to achieve a normal looking lobe and even to re-pierce that lobe.

Earlobe Damage Symptoms

Earlobe damage can present in a variety of ways depending on its cause. It is important to assess signs of earlobe damage early on to prevent complications and minimize your need for earlobe repair.

Volume Loss

As we age, our skin naturally loses volume, in part due to the breakdown of proteins like collagen and elastin. This is true for any part of the body, including the earlobes. The most common treatment for earlobe rejuvenation are non-surgical injectable treatments that stimulate the production of collagen, repairing the skin’s structure and helping to revitalize the earlobe.

Split or Torn Earlobe

A split or torn earlobe isn’t just painful; these conditions can have a permanent effect on the shape or integrity of your lobe. A tear or split in the earlobe is most commonly associated with piercings, either from heavy jewelry, jewelry being pulled or getting caught on an object, or stretching. A tear in the earlobe can prevent you from being able to wear jewelry as well as affect your sense of self-confidence.

Fortunately, a torn earlobe can be corrected surgically using a variety of techniques. The approach your doctor will use will depend on the extent of the tear and which options will provide you with the best aesthetic and functional outcome.

Pain and Swelling

Pain and swelling are good indicators of earlobe trauma or infection. As soon as you notice these symptoms appear, it is important to assess the damage to your earlobe and, if needed, identify the source of the inflammation. Based on this information, you can begin taking steps to resolve the issue and alleviate symptoms.

While some cases require treatment from a professional, you can take measures at home to alleviate pain and swelling and reduce or prevent infection. Applying an ice pack, over-the-counter pain relievers, and antibiotic ointment can reduce symptoms and prevent possible complications.

Discharge or Bleeding

Trauma and infection can both cause discharge and bleeding. While small amounts of blood or discharge can be managed at home, severe bleeding or infection should be assessed and treated by a medical professional as soon as possible. Without proper care, these concerns can lead to serious complications.

Earring Placement or Fit Changes

Proper fit and support can significantly reduce the risk of ear piercing complications. Pinching, squeezing, pulling, and stretching from jewelry can lead to tears, deformation, lacerations, and infection. Improperly placed jewelry can cause rubbing, irritation, or increase the risk of catching your jewelry on clothing or other objects. If you notice any of these conditions, you should immediately assess your ear to determine what changes you can make to alleviate any discomfort or other concerns, such as adjusting the closure, changing the placement of your jewelry, or removing ill-fitting or otherwise problematic jewelry.

Preventing a Torn Earlobe

While accidents can happen even with proper precaution, there are things you can do to minimize your risk of an earlobe tear. Avoid overly heavy, low-hanging jewelry that can get tangled, pulled, or snagged on things, and make sure the backs of your earrings are fully secured without pinching the earlobe. If you are committed to stretching your piercing for larger-gauge jewelry, it is important to increase size gradually while paying attention to the thickness and elasticity of the surrounding tissue.

Wearing Proper Earrings

Ear jewelry should be lightweight and fit snugly (but not tightly) around the earlobe. If your jewelry is uncomfortable to wear, it is either too heavy, too tight, or improperly placed. Another common issue that can lead to a torn earlobe is sensitivity to certain metals. Generally speaking, surgical steel and titanium jewelry offer the lowest risk of reaction with your skin.

Know Your Risks

While earlobe repair is considered a safe and low-risk procedure, it still carries risks associated with surgery. Complications such as bruising, bleeding, scarring, or infection can occur. You can minimize risks by receiving treatment for your torn earlobe from a skilled and experienced surgeon and following their aftercare instructions closely.

As with any type of body modification, ear piercing and stretching come with risks. If you are considering modifying your earlobe, it is important to consider potential damage and measures you can take to minimize your risks. Piercings should be performed by a trained and experienced professional to ensure the proper placement and safety practices to avoid a torn earlobe. Things to consider when selecting your jewelry include weight, length, materials, and gauge size.

Care and Hygiene

Hygiene is an important aspect of keeping your earlobe piercing healthy and preventing damage, such as a torn earlobe. Be sure to follow any aftercare instructions that help new piercings to heal as well as post-treatment instructions after any corrective earlobe surgery. For existing piercings, removing your jewelry before bed and showering can help to keep your piercing clean and also reduce wear on your jewelry from oils, soap, and water. If you notice inflammation or infection around your piercing, you should remove your earring as soon as possible to assess the situation and correct what’s causing the condition to prevent further problems.

Is Surgery Needed to Correct a Damaged Earlobe?

Basically the answer is yes. It is possible to inject an HA filler into the lobe to reduce the size of the opening before it has completely pulled through, but this is temporary and needs to be repeated annually to maintain the improvement. The surgery to correct the problem is performed under a local anesthesia in the comfort of the office, and is very similar to going to the dentist.

Earlobe repair New Jersey model

What is Earlobe Surgery Like?

Beverly Friedlander, MD

The earlobe is numbed with a local anesthesia. Sedatives are not needed. After the damaged or excessive part is removed the contour of the ear is restored. There are 2 flaps, one on either side of the resection that are then sutured together. This results in a small vertical scar that is well hidden once it heals. The ear can be re-pierced after the area is completely healed, usually, in several months.

New Jersey earlobe repair model smiling

What is the Recovery Like?

There is no downtime. You can go about your normal activities the following day. It is best to cleanse the area daily and apply an antibiotic ointment such as Bacitracin or Neosporin. Since it is so small, it is difficult to apply bandages. You may get the area wet and shower as desired the following day.

Schedule a NJ Earlobe Repair or NJ Earlobe Reduction Consultation

For more details and to find out if you are a candidate for earlobe repair New Jersey residents please contact us to schedule a consultation or call our office at (973) 912-9120 .

Earlobe Repair
Frequently Asked Questions

Earlobe repair is a common procedure that carries minimal risk and involves minimal recovery.

Earlobe surgery is not especially painful. You may choose to use over-the-counter pain relief following your procedure, but any discomfort should be mild and manageable.

It will take a couple of months for your earlobe to heal fully. However, you will be able to return to your regular routine immediately after your procedure.

Many patients choose to have their earlobe re-pierced after repair. However, you may need to adjust the location of your piercing slightly, and you will need to wait until your earlobe is fully healed.

The cost of earlobe repair can range from several hundred dollars up to about $2,000 depending on the extent of the damage and the techniques needed to repair the earlobe. During your consultation, we will provide you with all of the details you need to make a fully informed decision about your earlobe repair.

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Dr. Friedlander became a plastic surgeon to make a real difference in the lives of her patients. She started her practice in New Jersey three decades ago, and still treats some of her very first patients to this day! Experience the difference that comes from working with a true plastic surgery professional who cares about your results by scheduling your consultation with Dr. Bev.

636 Morris Turnpike, Suite 1A, Short Hills, NJ 07078

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