A torn earlobe is almost always the result of stress on the earlobe caused by ear piercings, and, for the most part, torn earlobes are repaired surgically. Some patients may try home repairs, but these are generally only temporary fixes and are usually no longer useful after an extended period of time. Usually, a local anesthetic is first injected into the area of the torn earlobe. Then, the borders of the tear are usually cut in order for the skin to be sutured back together, but the procedures are slightly different depending on the severity of the tear. The recovery process is usually quick, but many physicians will advise patients to wait a period of time before re-piercing.
In certain cases, a patient may try to fix a torn earlobe at home by creating a makeshift repair out of tape. More often than not, this method may help temporarily, but will generally irritate the skin to the point that it will no longer work. While the reparation of a torn earlobe is sometimes considered cosmetic and, therefore, may not be covered by some insurance companies, the surgery is usually simple, quick, and relatively painless.
The first step is usually to apply a local anesthetic to the area, and some doctors may also offer a sedative an option. The area to cut and stitch is planned and marked out on the skin and may vary depending on the severity. If the earlobe is not torn all the way through, but simply stretched, then the surgeon will cut the border of the hole and stitch it back together. In cases where the earlobe is torn all the way through, the excision can be straight, L-shaped, or zigzagged. The method used will vary depending on the position of the tear on the ear, and the doctor will generally counsel the patient beforehand.
The sutures used on a torn earlobe are generally very thin and can dissolve, making the recovery process relatively smooth. After the stitches have healed, however, there will be scarring and, depending on the precision and finesse of the surgeon, the earlobe may be slightly disproportionate or distorted afterward. Some physicians will recommend waiting at least eight weeks before re-piercing the ear, while others advise to wait six months. In all cases, if a patient decides to re-pierce the ear, it is essential that the new piercing be positioned next to the scar, rather than through it, since the scar is usually significantly weaker than normal tissue. In addition, a torn earlobe can be torn again, even after reparation, so patients should take care not to repeat the same circumstances that led to tearing in the first place, such as heavy earrings.