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 38

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 15 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
4.8 out of 5 stars 25 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
4.8 out of 5 stars 13 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 77 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

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
4.6 out of 5 stars 63 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.

Earlobes - Will they shrink back?

Thanks for your question. Unfortunately once the earlobe has been pierced the way you have shown in the photo provided, they will not shrink back to normal size or close. A minor surgery can easily be performed to close the whole. You will be able to re pierce your ears after 6 months or so.Best of luck!

Will Stretched Ear Lobes Ever Shrink Back to Normal Size?

When the earlobes are control stretched with progressively larger gauges, the earlobe tissues actually expand and grow under the stretching process.  The expanded earlobe tissues usually do not shrink completely back to normal, even when gauges are left out for several weeks.  If you are no longer interested in wearing larger gauges and would like the option of wearing small earrings (18G), then consider leaving the larger gauges out for 2-3 months.  It is unlikely that beyond this period of time that the earlobes will shrink further.  At that point, consider earlobe repair/reconstruction, which then will allow you to have them repierced for small earrings.  Best of luck!

Paul Fortes, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Wearing stud earrings after gauging

Removing the gauges for a period of time, if they are large, prior to surgical correction can be helpful in restoring good blood flow for healing and in resolving any skin irritation or rash that may be present. While the defect may shrink, surgery will be necessary if you want to wear simple studs in that part of your ear lobe again.

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.