Will Stretched Ear Lobes Ever Shrink Back to Normal Size?

I was wondering if you would always have to get surgery after stretching your earlobes. I have heard from others that depending on how big you stretch them, they will shrink down but I want to make sure with a professional. I will attach a picture that shows the top size i would like to go to. So in other words, will they ever close up if ear lobes are stretched, if not will they ever shrink down to a normal ear piercing size like 18mm?

Doctor Answers 34

Surgery will bring it back to normal

This is a common question. The holes will shrink to a certain degree but never completely close. Surgery is your best option if you would like to have a closed hole. The procedure is an office procedure performed under local anesthesia. Good luck.


San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Shrinkage of stretched ear lobes

The ear lobes may shrink by themselves, but only by a modest amount. Surgery is probably the only predictable way to reduce them.

Anindya Lahiri, FRCS (Plast)
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Will I need ear lobe surgery after gauging?

The earlobe will shrink but never look normal again without surgery.  I would wait until it finnishes shrinking on its own before cutting out and closing the hole.  You cannot wear the gauges for the entire time that it is shrinking.

Neal Goldberg, MD
Westchester Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Ear lobe stretching

This is a very common issue in the young patient population.  The short answer is no.  The long answer is that it also depends on how stretched the skin was to begin with.  No matter what, you will need some form skin closure to close the hole and then re-piercing after that.  That is your best solution.

Bhupesh Vasisht, MD
Voorhees Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Small to medium gauge piercings will permanently stretch your ear lobes

Small to medium gauge piercings will permanently stretch your ear lobes. I agree with my fellow plastic surgeons that even though your gauge piercings are smaller than some others that your earlobes will never completely heal on their own. They WILL contract but there will always be a hole there. Repair can be performed in the office and typically results in a nice appearing earlobe.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Stephen Weber, MD, FACS
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Will Earlobes Shrink Without Surgery

If the ring is removed the size of the hole will decrease but by how much is unpredictable.  This will occur over approximately 6 months.  Based on the photograph you provided, I would not think that the final size -  in the absence of surgery - would be cosmetically acceptable to you.

Andrew B. Denton, MD
Vancouver Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Gauged Earlobe Holes Will Shrink But Never Go Completely Away

You have small gauged earlobes in comparison to some I have seen. When you remove your gauges, your earlobe holes will shrink down to some degree. The holes will never completely close and it is just a matter of how small they will get. After 6 months they will likely shrink down leaving a residual hole about the size of half a pencil width.

Closing a gauged earlobe

Thanks for sharing. Your earlobes will shrink some if the gauges are removed. They would shrink slowly over time. In fact I have my patients do this for about a month prior to surgery. Ultimately you would most likely need to have surgical correction. It can be performed under local anesthesia. 

Raymond E. Lee, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Not enough

They typically shrink initially, but probably will never shrink enough to fix the issue. I would definitely talk to a plastic surgeon. It is a simple surgery to perform, but definitely needs to be evaluated by someone that knows the aesthetics of the earlobe.

Kiran Polavarapu, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Earlobe Repair after Gauges

Thank you for the question and your picture. In most cases, the gauged piercing hole will shrink down somewhat. It will never actually close, however, because the skin heals inside the piercing. In most cases, the shape of the lobe improves a little over time, but many patients still request repair. I have had patients remove gauges around the same size as yours and then wait a few months to allow some contraction before closure. This can improve the cosmetic result. Best of luck moving forward!

Evan Ransom, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.