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People have many ways of expressing their individuality. Our haircut and clothes are highly visible ways that distinguish us from others. Tattoos, piercings, and other forms of body art are also popular means of expressing individuality.

Ear gauges are a form of body art. The earlobes are pierced and then gradually stretched over time to hold jewelry. The result is a bold look!


Some people ultimately decide to remove their gauges.  In some cases, this is simply a matter of personal choice.  In others, the earlobes can stretch to the point of breaking, necessitating repair.  Still other find that the presence of bold jewelry is frowned upon in more conservative professional settings.

Whatever the reason for removing the gauges, stretched earlobes simply will not close on their own and need to be surgically repaired. While you can easily buy kits to stretch your earlobes online, generally you should leave the repair to a professional!

DSC_4007This patient had his ears pierced in his early teens and began stretching them. When he came to see me, the holes in his earlobes were 3/4 inch across. He was a manager at a restaurant and felt the gauges looked unprofessional, so he asked me to repair his earlobes.

The key to repairing the damage caused by larger gauges is to remove all of the inner part of the piercing, then remove enough stretched skin to close the defect. At the same time, we try to preserve the normal contour of the earlobe. Here’s how we did it.

Gauged ear

This is what we started with. You can see the inner part of the lobe (closer to the face) is stretched and quite thin, but the outer part is thicker and can be preserved for reconstruction.

The resulting scars get hidden in a natural fold in the earlobe and in the junction of the earlobe with the face. We did the surgery under local anesthesia in the office. The whole procedure (for both ears) took about an hour.

The stitches on the front of the ear came out after a week. The front aspect of the scar was then reinforced with tape while the back stitches remained in place for another week.

Twelve days after the repair, the contour of the earlobes is excellent and will only improve as the scars mature. This patient got all kinds of complements on his new earlobes!

Earlobe gauge repair is a relatively simple procedure that allows patients to reverse potentially questionable decisions from years before. If only it was so easy to go back and erase questionable decisions in music taste!