It’s a more common problem than you would think…
You are getting ready to go out and you have just put in your favorite pair of loop earrings. But as you are pulling your sweater over your head, the earring gets snagged on the sweater and it enlarges the piercing just enough so that a few more wearings of the earrings and they eventually pull right through the earlobe causing a “forked” earlobe.
It’s not an emergency but it will require a surgical repair and more than “just a couple of stitches” to bring the edges together.
There’s really not much to an earlobe, just skin and a small amount of fat. In an earlobe that has been torn, there is a small portion of skin that has covered the torn portion that must be removed before the two edges of the lobe are stitched together. This requires a minor surgical procedure with numbing of the lobe with local anesthesia and removing that upside down “V” shaped piece of skin and then carefully stitching the two sides together with a very small suture (stitch) and a technique that allows the edges to heal such that the scarring is minimal.
I typically leave the sutures in place 10-12 days and when I take them out in the office I place a steri-strip on the earlobe for another 10 days of healing (remember, there’s not much tissue there). I recommend 2 months from the time of the repair until another earring is placed as a piercing and large and heavy earrings should be worn with caution if at all.
You may have also heard of “gauges”.These are typically loops or “plugs” placed in a hole made in the earlobe and the hole is progressively stretched to accommodate the size gauge you want. These can also cause a splitting of the earlobe but more common is a desire to just have the gauge removed (permanently) and then have the earlobe repaired to look like a normal lobe. The gauge should be out of the earlobe for a minimum of 2 months before a repair is done.