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Well-formed, symmetrically positioned ears are regarded in all cultures as a sign of aesthetically-pleasing, harmonious facial features. Any deviation in shape or form is, therefore, readily recognized. Deformities of the earlobe are particularly obvious since the earlobes are adorned with jewelry. Congenital ear deformities of all types are relatively rare, occurring one in 15,000 live births.   

The most common causes of earlobe tearing are: (whether the tear is partial or complete in separating the earlobe) wearing too heavy an earring, children pulling on an earring, sleeping with earrings on, pulling of earrings while brushing hair, long earrings getting caught in sweaters, scarves or hats, and wearing multiple earrings. In our American culture, this has historically been a problem associated with females. Now, it has also become a problem in males with the advent of men piercing their earlobes.

Usually, once the earlobe is split, it won't heal spontaneously, resulting in a bifid appearance.

As trivial as deformities of a cleft earlobe may seem, it can deeply affect a person's self image. The slight imbalance of facial symmetry attracts attention more so because the earlobes are a focal point of beauty enhancement.

To repair torn earlobes, the procedure is usually done in the surgeon's office and takes about 30 minutes. A topical anesthetic similar to Novocain is injected into the earlobe and a small incision is then made on either side of the tear, removing any healed over skin that has formed. The area is then sutured with a plastics closure; a small pressure dressing is then applied. In about a week, the dressing is taken off and the sutures are taken out. Complete healing typically takes six weeks, at which time the earlobe can be re-pierced, if the person desires.


Call Dr. Schwartz for a consultation at 702.647.2900.

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