Q: Dr. Eppley, one of my earlobes is split. This is a result of earrings. Discoloration has taken place at the opening of the split earlobe. Is there any hope for my situation?
A: A torn or split earlobe is a very common ear problem. In fact, it may be the single most common reason for plastic surgery performed on the ear. The earlobe frequently separates from the long-term use of heavy ear rings or the inadvertent pulling on a dangling ear ring from a child. The earlobe is easily torn because there is no cartilage in it, unlike the rest of the ear. The two layers of skin and the intervening fat poses little resistance to the rounded edge of a metal object.
The split or enlarged ear ring hole can be easily repaired. It is a simple office procedure done under local anesthesia. The edges of the healed split earlobe are made fresh and put back together as a vertical line. Any discolored skin is removed at the same time. This does heal with a very fine line scar but it is often very hard to see. It will usually be obscured by future ear ring wear or the insertion of a new ear post. Re-piercing of the repaired split earlobe can be done six weeks after the procedure. Usually the new hole is made at the top of the healed scar line which is usually at the center of the earlobe.
Dr. Barry Eppley