TEL: 585.244.1000
973 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607
     

Split Earlobe Repair FAQ’s

Split Earlobe Repair Procedure Information

  1. What is a split ear lobe?
  2. What causes split ear lobe?
  3. How is split ear lobe repaired?
  4. How soon can I get my ears pierced after split ear lobe repair?
  5. What if I have a history of bad scars?
  6. How soon after the surgery can I wash my hair?
  7. How does split ear lobe repair affect my daily activities?
  8. Is it painful?
  9. Will I be awake during surgery?
  10. How long does my surgery take?
  11. Can I drive myself home after surgery?
  12. How long will bruising and swelling last?
  13. When can I go back to work or school?
  14. When can I “work out?”

SPLIT EARLOBE REPAIR PREOPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS

  1. What do I do to prepare for surgery?
  2. What about my daily medications before surgery?
  3. I take vitamins and supplements. Do I need to stop them before surgery?
  4. Do I need any special prescriptions before surgery?
  5. What happens when I check in for surgery?

SPLIT EARLOBE REPAIR POSTOPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS

  1. What does my ear look like after surgery?
  2. What does it feel like after surgery?
  3. Will I need any special prescriptions following surgery?
  4. Are there any dietary restrictions following surgery?
  5. Are there any special wound care instructions?
  6. When do I return to the office to get the sutures removed?
  7. How can I learn more about cosmetic surgery?

SPLIT EARLOBE REPAIR

1) What is a split ear lobe?
Split ear lobe is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a separation of skin from the point of piercing down through the base of the ear lobe. Although a discussion about split ear lobe repair is considered to be more of a minor cosmetic surgery, we include it here because the information and surgery is so commonly requested.

2) What causes split ear lobe?
Most commonly trauma from heavy or dangling earrings creates a slit in the ear lobe that begins at the point of piercing and continues to the base of the ear lobe. Catching a hoop earring in a comb when combing the hair is a very common cause along with heavy pendulant earrings and infection.

3) How is split ear lobe repaired?
Split ear lobe repair is a safe, effective office surgery performed to restore the ear lobe. The wound edges are “freshened” and closure is typically performed using a Z-plasty technique. This means that the wound is closed in a zig-zag fashion to strengthen the area from splitting again. The wound is securely sutured and a steri-strip (little butterflies) dressing is added to reinforce the closure while healing takes place. At your initial consultation, our nurse will provide all the instructions necessary for you to follow before and after surgery.

4) How soon can I get my ears pierced after split ear lobe repair?
As you will learn, one of the most important patient commitments we require before we repair a split ear lobe is the agreement that only our physicians will re-pierce the ear once it has been repaired. This is so the new site for your pierced earrings is not located in an area previously weakened by heavy or dangling earrings. Typically we require about six weeks prior to re-piercing. To allow the earlobe to heal, we will instruct you on when clip on earrings may be worn following repair.

5) What if I have a history of bad scars?
Patients most commonly have a pretty good idea about their ability to heal after split ear lobe repair based on how they healed following the original ear piercing. Also healing in the head and neck area is often very different from the lower body where there may be more tension on an incision. At your consultation, we will provide a complete head and neck exam including both ears, previous scars and healing. Skin type, ethnic background, age and general health are important factors influencing the outcome of surgery. If you have a history of keloid formation (thick scars) just let us know.

6) How soon after the surgery can I wash my hair?
It’s important to keep the sutures and steri-strips dry for five days following split ear lobe repair. During this time, one may shampoo as long as the ear lobe and steristrips remain dry. The morning of the suture removal appointment, we will ask you to shower and shampoo the hair prior to the appointment. When the sutures are removed, steri-strips frequently need to be reapplied, in which case one would again need to keep the area dry for another five days.

7) How does split ear lobe repair affect my daily activities?
Most patients carry on with little interruption to their daily activities. We ask patients to switch ears when using the telephone. So as not to disrupt the sutures, we also ask patient to avoid turtlenecks or tight fitting garments that are removed over the head. As far as aerobic activities, these should be avoided for one week following surgery. It’s important to avoid bending, lifting or straining during this postoperative period as these activities can increase swelling and delay healing.

8) Is it painful?
After any surgical surgery, some discomfort can be expected. All patients are provided with prescriptions for pain medication. Patients sometimes use the prescription medication two to three days after surgery and then switch to Extra Strength Tylenol. It is uncommon for patients to report unmanageable pain after surgery.

9) Will I be awake during surgery?
Yes. For patients undergoing split ear lobe repair alone, this can be performed in the office setting with only local (numbing) anesthesia.

10) How long does my surgery take?
The length of time for split ear lobe repair depends on several factors including the nature and amount of trauma, wound status and individual complexities of each person’s ear lobe. In general, split ear lobe repair takes about one hour depending on the anatomy and structure present prior to surgery.

11) Can I drive myself home after surgery?
YES. This reconstructive surgery is most often performed in the office setting using only local (numbing) anesthesia. Although uncommon, if a sedative is requested, patients are not able to drive themselves home after the surgery.

12) How long will bruising and swelling last?
Postoperative bruising and swelling begins to resolve at the end of the first week. For patients with a history of easy bruising, resolution of bruising or swelling may take two weeks. However, bruises can be camouflage fairly easily with concealer stick.

13) When can I go back to work or school?
Most patients return to work or school the day following split ear lobe repair.

14) When can I “work out?”
Aerobic activities should be avoided for one week following surgery. It’s important to avoid bending, lifting or straining during this postoperative period as these activities can increase swelling and delay healing.


SPLIT EARLOBE REPAIR PREOPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS

1) What do I do to prepare for surgery?
At your initial consultation, our nurse will provide all the instructions necessary for you to follow before and after surgery. On the business day prior to the operation we ask you to call to confirm your arrival time for surgery. You may eat breakfast on the morning of surgery.

2) What about my daily medications before surgery?
You will have a preoperative appointment well in advance of your surgery when our experienced staff will review all mediations with you. If you are take aspirin, ibuprofen or “blood thinners,” you will be asked to stop them approximately one week prior to surgery. We will also provide a Medication List” for instructions on other medications and supplements to avoid prior to surgery.

3) I take vitamins and supplements. Do I need to stop them before surgery?
Most vitamins and supplements have few side effects. However, there are some that can such as vitamin E and ginkgo-biloba affect bleeding during surgery. Our “Medication List” reviews medications and supplements to avoid one week before surgery.

4) Do I need any special prescriptions before surgery?
Most patients do not need any special prescriptions before surgery. Please let us know of any special medical concerns you may have. The prescriptions needed after surgery are discussed below.

5) What happens when I check in for surgery?
Upon arrival for your surgery, you will meet with your doctor to answer any last minute questions prior to the surgery. Our nurses will help you get ready for surgery. Please let them know of any special needs you may have.

SPLIT EARLOBE REPAIR POSTOPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS

1) What does my ear look like after surgery?
Following the surgery, you will have a steri-strips dressing wrapped your ear lobe. You may also notice some bruising and swelling at that time.

2) What does it feel like after surgery?
Your ear lobe will be numb for about an hour following the surgery. You may take pain medication as needed after you arrive home. Remember not to drive while taking pain medication. Our nurses will be right there with you as you wake up from surgery to give you special attention.

3) Will I need any special prescriptions following surgery?
Postoperative prescriptions and over-the-counter supplements include the following:

A) An antibiotic (usually Amoxicillin) to take after surgery to prevent infection.
B) Pain medication (usually Vicodin/hydrocodone) to minimize any discomfort
following surgery.
C) Vitamin C daily with food daily for one week following surgery.

4) Are there any dietary restrictions following surgery?
There are no dietary restrictions. Patients may eat whatever they like.

5) Are there any special wound care instructions?
It’s important to keep the sutures and steri-strips dry for five days following split ear lobe repair. During this time, one may shampoo as long as the ear lobe and steri-strips remain dry. The morning of the suture removal appointment, we will ask you to shower and shampoo the hair prior to the appointment. When the sutures are removed, steri-strips frequently need to be reapplied, in which case one would again need to keep the area dry for another five days.

6) When do I return to the office to get the sutures removed?
Your first postoperative appointment for suture removal will be approximately five days after surgery. Be sure to shampoo your hair on the morning before arriving for suture removal.

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