• Fri, Jun 22 2012

I Have Really Stretched-Out Earring Holes; Should I Get Them Fixed?

ear piercing skin stretched

I begged and begged to have my ears pierced. I remember it very clearly, the pediatrician with a walrus-like moustache, the clear piercing gun, the shiny orange Naugahyde of the exam table.  I was four years old, and I was dying to wear the tiny Minnie Mouse post earrings someone had gotten me as a present. Now, over twenty years later, the holes in my earlobes are pretty decimated.

It’s not even accurate to call them holes; they’re basically lines, completely stretched out. The left one has just the tiniest pinprick of skin before any dangly earring completely rips through and leaves me essentially lobe-less. Post earrings won’t stay in my ears at all, and when I want to wear danglers, I usually wear these clear stickers called Ear Lift (which actually work pretty well, despite the fact that I forget they’re there and then they come off in the shower, all gummy and gross).

Part of the reason this happened is that I have seriously, freakishly stretchy skin, like my grandmother and mother before me. My grandmother actually got a second set of holes pierced in her ears when she was well into her 70s; she wasn’t about to stop wearing the large gold earrings she loved. Also, I wore all kinds of heavy and tacky earrings when I was a kid; huge dangly Christmas trees, jingle bells, wooden Easter bunnies.

My earlobes freak people out frequently, especially if I wear my hair up. I’ve gotten lots of comments on them, which means that they’re pretty noticeable, right? (Although commenting on a random girl’s earring holes…not the best manners, I think we can all agree.) To be honest, I’m not particularly bothered by them. Months will go by when I pretty much ignore the fact that my earlobe is about one centimeter from being completely torn through. They definitely look weird, but they’ve been stretched out for so long (since I was in high school, at least) that I just sort of ignore them, at least cosmetically. Physically, I’ve started to get a little worried.

Inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Holly Burns, I decided to look into how this little problem of mine could be fixed. One of my friends works in a plastic surgeon’s office, and she said that I could get my ears stitched up by the doctor she works for, no problem. Apparently earlobe repair is a pretty common procedure for both plastic surgeons and dermatologists; some doctors will even inject Restylane into your ear to make it stronger.

But I’m weirdly hesitant. Why? Well, for one thing I don’t have insurance, so the procedure would be “under the table,” even though it’s with a doctor I would probably have confidence in. Still, minor surgery without insurance kind of freaks me out. Plus, the procedure isn’t strictly necessary; this is a purely cosmetic problem, it doesn’t cause me pain, and like I mentioned before, I’m not crazy self-conscious about them. I might even feel more self-conscious about wanting to get them stitched up. Sure, it’s not liposuction or breast augmentation, but it’s still plastic surgery, to some extent. And I’m a little uncomfortable with plastic surgery that isn’t medically needed, at least for myself.

But on the other hand, I want to get them fixed before they get worse and streeeetch out even more. I want to wear pretty earrings without worrying that I’ll lose one. I’m leaning towards having the piercings stitched up, but I’m still undecided. I’d have to wait a while before I could get them pierced again, but at least I’d have another decade or so before my earrings are hanging to the middle of my neck.

What do you think? Have you experienced this problem? Have you gotten your earlobes repaired? Do you think I’m crazy to even debate a procedure so small?

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  • Katrina

    I had my earlobes repaired last year. It was a really simple procedure, I drove myself, they injected local antisthetic and stitched them up. I got them repierced about 10 weeks after the stitches came out and I haven’t had any issues since and you really can’t see the scars. My motivation was wanting to be able to wear family heirloom earrings at my wedding which I wouldn’t have been able to do had I not had them repaired. Also, I have pretty great health insurance, but the procedure wasn’t covered and cost me about $600 at a plastic surgeon. Best of luck to you whatever you decide!

  • sarah b

    gurrrrl get those holes fixed up so you can wear some nice studs

  • Earring Doctor

    Here is is some relevant information meant to be informative and not commercial in nature.
    Ear Lifts are no longer on the market from many reasons including the issues experienced by Carrie.
    There is a superior earlobe support product called Pierce-Mate that uses double sided medical grade tape, first applied to a ridged plastic disc that is then applied to back of your earlobe. As opposed to just tape, the disc provides ease of handling and positioning, better support to the earlobe and the pull of any weight earring is now focused on a ridged surface of the hole in the disc, not on soft skin.
    Pierce-Mate also helps maintain the natural shape of the earlobe eliminating an elongated dragged down earlobe look. Pierce-Mate works with all types of pierced earrings including those “cheese cutter” wire dangle type earrings.
    It can be found at http://www.earringdoctor.com/piercemate.html.

  • meteor_echo

    I’d suggest repairing them and then re-piercing them above the newly-formed scar tissue (once the repaired place heals up completely). I had this done to my navel (the first piercing migrated, so I had to fix it and pierce behind it), and it works pretty well, since the scar tissue would prevent your earrings to slip down again.
    Also, what’s that gem you wear in your ear? Labradorite/spectrolite?

  • Rebekah

    I had one earlobe repaired about 8 years ago. The ENT surgeon who did the surgery said not to re-pierce my ear for 3 months. I waited a year. The new earring immediately ripped through my newly fixed earlobe. Making it the same stretched out earring hole it had been. I NEVER wore heavy earrings. My whole purpose in doing the surgery was to be able to wear studs and not have people say to me ALL THE TIME, “oh dear, your earring is about to fall out” (which the do ALL THE TIME). Recently, for about 3 years I worked as a nurse for a dermatologist, who frequently does these surgeries. They tend to discourage people from the surgery. Because you absolutely can’t wear any heavy earrings again, and I mean ANY. Which is usually how people got there in the first place.
    So I’ll just continue to be lopsided McGee on my earrings. I just bought some pretty diamond studs and periodically re-situate the wonky one. :) good luck!

  • Rehab

    Hello, oh my god I have the same sitiuation as you, my right ear was elongated perhaps from heavy earrings, and I didn’t have a problem with it, but when people look at my ear they freak out. I decided to have it stitched, it was a very easy procedure, it took like 20 minutes. But, I didn’t have it stitched up till the end. The Dr. Put a small hook on top so I don’t have to pierce another whole. He just made my pierce smaller. It doesn’t hurt it just feels like an aunts bite in ur ear. I’m going back to the Dr. To have the stitches removed. I’m just worried how I’ll be wearing earrings on that same same pierce that was made smaller. I’m afraid it will re open hehe. Hope not, just waiting for the results.

    • Grilla

      Hello ladies, do you know roughly how much it is for the surgery per ear?

  • N

    I just had my repaired. I had the same thing as you, although mine were stretched due to a nickel allergy and I kept wearing earrings anyway. I finally decided to get it done because the one side was almost completely torn and you’ve seen what happens when they tear, right? If it’s not fixed immediately, the skin will start to grow like that, apart! I will let you know the result. I literally got the procedure done today. One thing you should know is it is considered plastic surgery, so you don’t have to worry about insurance – they don’t need insurance for this procedure.

  • Grilla

    Hello ladies, do you know roughly how much is it to get surgery per ear?