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Reviving Your Lobes: Ear Restoration Surgery After Tunnels and Ear Gauging!5 min read

Ear Restoration Surgery After Tunnels and Ear Gauging
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Trendy doesn’t always mean timeless, and that’s what the ear-gauging trend has revealed. 

As more people stretch their ears, public dislike of the movement increases. 

Fortunately, there’s a way to correct ear gauging for those who have decided to turn back—earlobe reconstruction surgery!

What are Ear Tunnels?

The ear tunnel trend isn’t so uncommon today, but its nonconformity with social standards makes it shocking. 

Ear gauging involves using ear tunnels or plugs to enlarge the earlobe around an ever-growing hole. This hole can be any size, from the diameter of a pencil to a soda bottle cap. 

Stretched earlobes might look trendy while the ear tunnels are in. Still, when the gauges come out, the lobes look tired and disfigured, presenting challenges for anyone ready to phase out their ear tunnels.

How Does Ear Gauging Alter the Earlobe's Shape and Size Permanently?

This disfigured look results from ear gauging’s permanent effect on the earlobe. 

While small ear tunnels—say 3 mm in diameter—may naturally heal, larger ones won’t. 

Performing ear gauging above 6 mm often leaves only one option for earlobe repair: surgery.

Are There Risks Associated With Earlobe Stretching?

The main risk from ear gauging is a blowout—when you expand your earlobe hole too fast and force tissue from your inner earlobe onto your outer earlobe. A situation like this could also cause your earlobe to split.

You also may experience permanent scarring or infection from ear gauging.

What is Earlobe Reconstruction Surgery?

Earlobe reconstruction surgery is an excellent way to reverse your earlobe stretching by reshaping the earlobe. 

Plastic surgeons can return your earlobe to its normal appearance by removing a segment of the stretched skin and opening up the lobe around the ear tunnel. The removed skin helps piece the lobe back together while stitches hold the lobe in place.

What Does Earlobe Reconstruction Surgery Involve?

Your first step will be a consultation with Dr. Chang to discuss your health and journey to earlobe reconstruction. You will learn the details of the procedure and what to expect in recovery.

You will undergo the procedure under general anesthesia or IV sedation. However, some patients may be fine getting the procedure in the office with local anesthesia or valium. 

Dr. Chang will snip your expanded earlobe to create a fold and piece your earlobe back together. He will place the incisions behind your ear, where they will be nearly invisible. 

Earlobe reconstruction surgery takes 15-20 minutes for one ear and 30-40 minutes for two. After you’ve recovered from the anesthesia, a friend or family member can drive you home.

How Long is the Recovery Period After Earlobe Reconstruction Surgery?

Once you arrive home, take optimal care of yourself and follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions to ensure proper healing. R&R is essential, especially during the first few days after earlobe restoration surgery. 

You’ll wear a head wrap for the first week and a headband for the next four weeks of your recovery. During this time, you should relax and take time off work. Most patients need 1-3 weeks at home to fully recover. 

To take care of your earlobes, avoid itching, touching, or rubbing them. It would help if you also slept on your back until they’ve healed and avoided strenuous exercise so you don’t aggravate the incision. 

Most patients report minimal to moderate discomfort. Dr. Chang will prescribe a narcotic to help manage higher pain levels. 

Finally, you’ll have a follow-up 3-5 days after your surgery to check your surgical site.

Can I Have Earlobe Reconstruction Surgery On One Ear?

Sometimes, only one ear needs to be corrected. This may be challenging because you’ll want your ears to be symmetrical.

Fortunately, earlobe reconstruction surgery exists for situations just like this! Single-ear surgery is a regular use of this procedure, and Dr. Chang will ensure that your ear will match the other in the final results!

Can I Get Piercings After Ear Surgery?

Earlobe reconstruction surgery won’t stop you from enjoying jewelry! As long as you wait 4-6 weeks after your surgery and slightly relocate your piercing, ear piercing is a perfectly normal activity after surgery.

Embrace a Fresh Start With Restored Earlobes!

If you’re ready to turn your trendy look into a timeless one, Dr. Chang and his team of experts have you covered. Let us make it easy for you to start fresh with fashion!

Meet us at 19500 Sandridge Way, Suite 350, Leesburg, VA 20176, or call us at (703) 574-4342 for a complimentary consultation with Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Phillip Chang before proceeding with your procedure. If everything matches up, our team will help you navigate the entire process from beginning to end. Also, remember to check out our blog and social media for more information on cosmetic surgery trends!


  1. “Big Increase in Surgery to Mend ‘Flesh Tunnel’ Earlobes.” The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/oct/19/cosmetic-surgeons-repair-stretched-earlobes. Accessed 6 October 2023.Jewell, Tim. “All About Ear Stretching (Ear Gauging).” Healthline,
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/ear-stretching. Accessed 6 October 2023. 
  3. McClatchey, Caroline. “Ear Stretching: Why is Lobe ‘Gauging’ Growing in Popularity?” BBC News, https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-15771237. Accessed 6 October 2023.

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