What Really Happens When You Get Stretched Lobe Surgery

We ask a board-certified plastic surgeon about what’s involved in having stretched lobe surgery, the pain after, re-piercing and more.

stretched lobe surgeryphoto credit: shutterstock

Why stretched lobe surgery is NBD

Trends come and go. And piercings – including lobe stretching – are not forever. While you can remove a piercing and let the hole naturally grow over (just make sure you keep the area clean to avoid infection), stretched lobes need a bit more help.

That’s why Best Health connected with Dr. Elliot Hirsch, board certified plastic surgeon practicing the full spectrum of plastic and reconstructive surgery, to find out what’s involved in stretched lobe surgery.

What are some reasons patients want to change the look of their lobes?

“There are many reasons why patients want to change the appearance of their earlobes. As people age, their earlobes naturally lose elasticity and collagen, which causes them to sag and look thin. This also makes it difficult for them to support earrings, so by tightening the skin and injecting the earlobe with filler, patients can once again wear earrings on their ears. Additionally, people who have gauge style earlobes must have them repaired before they join the military or police force, as this style of hearing is not permitted. Finally, patients with split earlobes typically want them repaired so that their ear lobes look normal again.”

What concerns do they have about the stretched lobe surgery?

“The most common questions that I get asked are, ‘Does it hurt?’ and ‘Will I be able to pierce my ears and wear earrings again?’”

What is involved with the surgery for stretched earlobes?

“The earlobe repair and rejuvenation is a simple procedure that is performed in the office. First, the repair is marked, and then local anesthetic is injected into the earlobe. This is the only part of the procedure that is painful, after the injection, the earlobe is numb for two hours. Next, the incision is made and the repair is performed with sutures. The entire procedure usually takes 10 to 15 minutes.”

Seems simple enough. Is it possible to pierce the ears after?

“Absolutely. As long as the new piercing isn’t in the same place as the scar, re-piercing is totally fine. I [suggest waiting] three months after the procedure before re-piercing to make sure that the earlobe is fully healed.”

You mentioned the procedure only hurts for the anesthetic. Is the recovery painful?

“The only part of the procedure that is painful is the injection. Once the numbing medicine wears off, Tylenol or ibuprofen is enough to control any post-procedure pain.”

Do the lobes look “normal” after?

“The earlobe shape looks very normal, although they will have a scar where the repair was performed.”

What is involved in post-treatment care for stretched lobe surgery?

“After the procedure, patients should wash their ears with soap and water, and apply a small amount of antibiotic ointment to the incision. I remove the sutures after one to two weeks and recommend using Biocorneum scar gel to help the scars heal as well as possible.”