This is one of the commonest reasons for women seeking plastic surgical correction. It is common practice for all women[and some men !] in the Indian subcontinent to have their ear lobes pierced in infancy or early childhood and to use this pierced “hole’ for adornments like ear studs or rings throughout life. Predominantly because of ear studs and other ear ornaments exerting a constant weight on the soft component of the ear known as the lobe, this hole slowly stretches over time , in some earlier than others. [fig 1] Soon this makes it difficult to retain the studs as the whole stud can easily slip out and fall resulting in a possible loss of a costly ornament. In extreme cases this stretching can result in an outright tear of the ear lobe and create a split ear lobe .[fig 2] Fortunately, this problem can be corrected by a simple procedure called ear lobe repair. It involves freshening of the edges of the slit like hole under a local anaesthetic and stitching them together ,this closing the hole fully. The sutures used are exceptionally fine and can be removed after a week to 10 days. Once the wound has healed and the repaired tissue has gained some strength [about 6 to 8 weeks], a fresh hole can be pierced close to it and ear studs worn again.
1.Can I get it done by glue without stitches?
A. Any two edges or surface can be joined by tissue glue. But the complications in a glued wound are more than a sutured wound. While glue is convenient in repairing wounds in children as there is no need for suture removal, the precision needed for accurate wound approximation and therefore a superior cosmetic result is best achieved by suturing. More importantly, this is a simple , quick and a fairly painless procedure with hardly any postoperative pain.
2. Can the hole be retained while repair to avoid another piercing ?
A. Retaining the hole while repairing is not a good idea as it can significantly weaken the strength of the wound.
3. When can I have my ears pierced again?
A. The recommendation is to wait at least 6 weeks, preferably 8. In the meantime , after the wound has healed [2 weeks after the procedure], a clip-on or magnet type ear stud can be worn.