Purpose: To return the earlobe to its un-gauged shape
Incision: Within the earlobe
Anesthesia: Typically local anesthesia only, but sedation options exist
Cost: Depends on the extent of stretching. Range is a few hundred dollars to $1800
Recovery: Minimal disruption to normal life activities.
Earlobe gauging has become more popular in the last 10 or 20 years and some of those people have decided they no longer enjoy the style. The first step to undo the gauging is to stop placing anything in the earlobe and allow the hole to contract on its own. Most of the contraction will happen in the first few weeks with maximal contraction in a few months. With large gauging, this contraction may not have any real impact on the extent of surgery required to fix it, but with small gauges sometimes they contract to a point where a less complex repair is needed. The actual repair starts by numbing the area with a shot of local anesthetic. The local anesthetic is very effective and allows for the procedure to be done comfortably awake. Once the ear is numb, the skin lining the inside of the gauge is removed and the loop of skin is partially removed. Skin is rotated and adjusted using what surgeons refer to as “flaps” to attain a normal earlobe shape. Small gauge holes can sometimes be treated the same as you would treat a simple stretched conventional piercing and may not require any flaps or tricky manipulation of the tissue. This type of repair is much quicker and costs less money. A more complex repair will take about an hour whereas the less complex repairs take about 10 minutes. The incisions are closed using many very small sutures that look like fine blond hair. The sutures will dissolve about a week after surgery. If desired, a standard piercing can be done about 6 weeks later. Recovery is mostly painless. There is little if any bruising and only mild swelling of the earlobe. You should refrain from vigorous physical activity for a few days and treat the ears gently for about 10 days. Swimming should be avoided for about a week, but you may shower normally the day after surgery. Risks include but are not limited to infection and failure to achieve the desired appearance.
Before & After Photos: