Plastic surgery to repair a torn earlobe is a frequent occurrence. Piercing an
earlobe puts it at risk to tear. The size, style and weight of an earring can contribute to the stretching of the
earlobe opening. Large earrings that dangle are caught on clothing or grasped by a child. The result may be a
partially or completely torn earlobe. Repair of a torn earlobe occurs in the plastic surgery office setting using a
local anesthetic. The procedure consists of "freshening" the edges of the split and placement of sutures to
complete the repair of the earlobe. The stitches are removed in a week. If repiercing is desired this can be
accomplished three months after the earlobe repair.
Piercing an earlobe also puts it at risk for development of a keloid. A keloid is a
scar that grows beyond the edges of the pierced opening in the earlobe and is a thick, nodular, itchy cluster of
scar tissue that is often red or darker in color than the surrounding skin. The keloid of the earlobe is treated by
injecting a steroid medication directly into the scar tissue to reduce redness, itching, and burning. If the
medication does not decrease the size and firmness, surgical excision is undertaken with the understanding that the
keloid can recur in the earlobe, sometimes even larger than before. To discourage keloid recurrence in the earlobe
steroid injections or radiation therapy may be used as an adjunct with surgery. Pressure earrings decrease
recurrence of the keloid if worn after surgery.
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