Repair for Gauged or Stretched Earlobes

Joseph L. Cvancara, M.D., FAAD

Fellowship-Trained Mohs Surgeon
Board-Certified Dermatologist

Some Fashions Are Easier To Change Than Others

Throughout history, people have loved the fashion of the day. For example, American colonists wanted to have the best dresses and hats from London or Paris, or (gasp), even simply desiring “store-bought” versus “homespun” clothes. What happens when the current fashion goes out of style? It is discarded or removed. This is easily done with clothing or wall paint color, but more difficult for body adornment such as earlobe-stretched piercings (gauges).   

How Are Earlobes Stretched In the First Place? 

Earlobe stretching is caused by deliberate expansion of a pierced ear. To minimize bleeding, skin splitting, and to prevent scar formation, it is done in small increments. If earlobe stretching is done too aggressively, an earlobe “blowout” of sorts could occur, causing the earlobe to split. Stretching of the earlobe is done with the use of a plug, sometimes referred to as a gauge. A seven mm or 0 gauge is considered the largest sized earlobe plug that can still allow the earlobe to close by the skin’s own elasticity, leaving a relatively unnoticeable earlobe piercing. A nine mm or 00 gauge is the “point of no return” at which the earlobe has a visible hole. 

What Jewelry Is Used in Stretching? 

Throughout the course of history numerous materials have been used for earlobe stretching. Some of these include: stone, fossil, wood, bone, horn, amber, bamboo, silicone, glass, acrylics, steel, and titanium. Non-porous materials such as steel, titanium, and glass are recommended to help prevent infection when the earlobe is being stretched.  

Earlobe Stretching Through the Ages 

Many Americans today have found it fashionable to stretch their earlobes. Although some are under the impression that this is a modern western practice, it has actually been practiced throughout the world since ancient times. Earlobe stretching, historically, was used to signify social status, intimidate enemies, and of course, to display one’s own unique style. King Tutankhamen, the Iceman, Buddha, Easter Island Heads, Aztecs, Mayans, and Celts all stretched earlobes with jewelry. So, if you have stretched earlobes, relax, you are among famous company. 

Treatment to Repair Gauged or Stretched Earlobes 

If you currently have stretched earlobes you might still be completely happy with them. Or, Perhaps you are having some second thoughts such as, “I’m tired of this fashion trend”, or “It’s tough being so cool-the paparazzi will not leave me alone!”, or “I wish my bosses would accept gauges at work”, or any number of reconsiderations. At Advanced Dermatology & Skin Surgery, repair of the earlobe-stretched gauge hole can be accomplished with expert reconstructive surgical techniques in one short procedure, using local anesthetic. 

If you are considering repairing gauged or stretched earlobes please call us to schedule a complimentary consultation with our dermatologic surgeon today at 509.456.7414 or 800.247.9519.