Split Earlobe Repair Frequently Asked Questions
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. Although split ear lobe repair may be considered by most to be more of a minor cosmetic procedure, we include it here because the information and surgery is so commonly requested.
BEFORE SPLIT EARLOBE REPAIR SURGERY
At the time of your office consultation we will provide all the instructions for you to follow before and after your split earlobe procedure. 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. To allow the earlobe to heal following repair, we will instruct you on when clip on earrings may be worn until the earlobe is re-pierced.
For patients undergoing split ear lobe repair alone, this can be performed in the office setting with only local (numbing) anesthesia. Upon arrival for your split earlobe repair procedure, you will meet with your plastic surgeon again to answer any last minute questions prior to the procedure. A split ear lobe repair takes about one hour depending on the anatomy and structure present. If you are having a combination of cosmetic procedures your appointment will take longer.
PREOPERATIVE SPLIT EARLOBE REPAIR INSTRUCTIONS
- Please avoid any aspirin, aspirin-containing products, or ibuprofen (Advil, Aleve, etc.) for one week prior to your split earlobe repair procedure. At your initial visit, we will provide a medication list (separate page of instructions) which outlines in detail products to avoid prior to your procedure. If you are on any medications that affect bleeding (such as coumadin or warfarin) please notify the office immediately.
- Please refrain from tobacco products and alcohol for one week prior and one week following your split earlobe repair procedure. Along with delayed wound healing, persistent skin redness and other complications may persist when tobacco and alcohol are not discontinued.
- Please notify us of all routine medications and significant health history. We ask that you remain on your daily medications unless instructed otherwise.
- After your split earlobe repair procedure is complete, you may be given prescriptions for use following your procedure including an oral antibiotic (typically Keflex/Cephalexin) and pain medication (typically Vicodin/hydrocodone). Occasionally for patients with significant swelling, you will be given an additional prescription (typically Medrol Dosepak/methyl prednisolone).
- The day before your split earlobe repair procedure, we will ask you to begin Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 3000 mg daily for one week after your procedure to help promote healing.
- Please call the Lindsay House at 244-1000 before noon on the business day prior to your split earlobe repair procedure to confirm your arrival time.
- There are no dietary restrictions before the split earlobe repair procedure unless instructed otherwise. You may brush your teeth.
- Do not bring valuables (cash, credit cards, watches, jewelry, etc.) to the Lindsay House on the day of your split earlobe repair procedure
- It is not required that a family member or friend stay at the Lindsay House during your split earlobe repair procedure. If you have local (numbing) anesthesia, you will be able to drive yourself home after your procedure.
AFTER SPLIT EARLOBE REPAIR SURGERY
Following your split ear lobe repair, the nurse will review all instructions you will need for postoperative care. Avoid putting the phone to the affected ear for one week following your split earlobe repair procedure. Avoid turtlenecks or tight fitting clothing for one week following split ear lobe repair.
When your split earlobe repair procedure is complete, you will notice a few steri-strips (little white Band-Aids) that may feel a bit tight because of the swelling. This dressing helps to keep the sutures securely in place. The steri-strips must be kept dry and in place for five to six days following you split earlobe repair procedure. You will be asked to come to our Lindsay House Office on postoperative day five or six for suture removal. Although your ear lobe is not completely healed at this time, the sutures are removed to prevent permanent suture marks.
The morning of the suture removal, we request that you shower and get the steri-strips wet, which will help loosen the steri-strips for removal at your appointment. Most patients describe suture removal as discomfort rather than pain and do not take pain medication prior to this appointment. However, if you want to take pain medication about an hour prior to suture removal you will need to have someone drive you to this appointment. When sutures are removed, new steristrips will be placed to reinforce the incision. These new steristrips must remain dry and in place for four days. You may then get them wet in the shower before your second postoperative appointment.
POSTOPERATIVE SPLIT EARLOBE REPAIR INSTRUCTIONS
Keep dressing dry and intact the evening after your split earlobe repair procedure and until the morning you return for suture removal. Notify your plastic surgeon if the dressings become loose or fall off.
Most patients complain of discomfort more than pain. Use pain medication (typically Vicodin/hydrocodone) as directed/as needed. Vicodin contains Tylenol. Do not take additional Tylenol or acetaminophen while taking Vicodin. Do not drive or drink alcohol while taking pain medication. Taking pain medication with food helps minimize nausea sometimes associated with pain medications.
Start your antibiotic (typically Keflex/cephalexin) when you get home and one at bedtime.
Start swelling medication (typically Medrol Dosepak/methyl prednisolone) when you arrive home and again at bedtime. Take with food.
Avoid putting the phone to the affected ear for one week following surgery. Avoid turtlenecks or tight fitting clothing for one week following split ear lobe repair. Patients typically do not need to take time off work other than the time for the split earlobe repair procuedre. You may wear clip on earrings beginning two weeks after split ear lobe repair.
Always protect your face from the sun. Following surgery, our staff will tell you when it is OK to apply sunscreen, cosmetics or facial creams to the surgical site. Avoid unprotected prolonged sun exposure for three months following split ear lobe repair to prevent pigmentation of incision lines.
Swelling, bruising and disrupted sleep are very normal postoperative symptoms and will decrease as the healing process occurs.
Following split ear lobe repair, it takes time for the swelling to subside and for the skin to heal. At ten days postoperatively, swelling and minimal bruising may be apparent to you but not to many of your coworkers and closest friends.
Final results following any cosmetic surgery are not apparent for one full year. After three months, the changes are ever so subtle, although still important. Being perfectionists about our work, you may tell us you are pleased long before the one-year anniversary. However, we request that you follow-up with us at that time for postoperative photographs and so that we can enjoy your final result.
Please notify the office 244-1000 and ask for our nurse for any concerns. For an emergency, please contact our office or professional answering service at 258-4851. Remember, we are all here to help in any way we can.