Some men and women consider repairing or reversing gauge earlobes, such as for required for certain work or for personal reasons. After stretching the earlobe, these patients want the gauge hole and earlobe to shrink back to normal size. Unfortunately, the earlobe doesn’t necessarily come back down to pre-gauge dimensions. Stretching the skin beyond 10 mm is considered “point of no return” where the earlobe will not close to a standard piercing size. Patients with such gauge earlobes will need plastic surgery for repair. Plastic surgeons refer to such procedures as split, torn, or stretched ear repair surgery.
Gauge or Stretched Earlobe Repair
Gauge earlobe repair is minor plastic surgery performed in the office via local anesthesia. Plastic surgeons will suggest waiting at least a few months to allow the gauge earlobe to shrink down as much as possible before proceeding with surgical repair. Excess skin has developed from the stretching, which is trimmed during repair. The procedure takes about 15 minutes. Recovery is characterized as simple by many patients. Bandages are typically not required, and patients often don’t report much pain after this plastic surgery.
Torn Earlobe Repair
Gradually with time, some earlobes may start to split with earrings. Before splitting some may notice irritation, itching, or inflammation with earrings. Earrings with nickel, copper, or mixed metals are more likely to cause a split or enlarged piercing site. Torn earlobe repair is similar to gauge earlobe repair, as a minor plastic surgery procedure in the office via local anesthesia.
Repiercing after Earlobe Repair
Once the ear is adequately healed, the ear may be re-pierced. Some plastic surgeons will allow clip-on earrings after a few months, while repiercing allowed after six months.