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 41

Surgery will bring it back to normal

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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

Shrinkage of stretched ear lobes

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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

Will I need ear lobe surgery after gauging?

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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

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Ear lobe stretching

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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 94 reviews

Small to medium gauge piercings will permanently stretch your ear lobes

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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

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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

Gauged Earlobe Holes Will Shrink But Never Go Completely Away

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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.

Will stretched ear lobes shrink

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In recent years stretching earlobes with gage piercings has become more and more popular.  It is true that after being stretched, they can shrink back down to some degree after taking the gage earrings out.  The extent of shrinking can vary for different people.  Unfortunately stretched earlobes are unlikely to shrink back down to a size small enough to be suitable for a normal earring.  

My advice is if and when you are tired of the look of the stretched earlobes, take them out and keep them out for several weeks before you go in for a consultation to have them repaired.  If the holes shrink, it will help with the repair and potential lead to a less obvious scar.  Repair of stretched earlobes is a relative quick procedure that can be done in the office under local anesthesia.  Make sure you consult with a fellowship trained facial plastic surgeon. 

Catherine Weng, MD
Denver Otolaryngologist
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Earlobes Back to Normal

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If the earlobes are slits from wearing heavy earrings or ear plugs the chance of any shrinkage of the lobule would be unlikely. Repair of the slit is straight forward. If the lobule needs reduction it can be performed at the same time especially if a complete division of the lobule is required to repair the slit.

Otherwise a staged procedure can be done for the reduction and the piercing performed at the same time. If re-piercing is done the location can be agreed upon with a surgical marking pen ahead of time.

Robert W. Sheffield, MD
Santa Barbara Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Will ears shrink back down to normal after wearing gauges?

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No, your earlobes will never look like they used to without a surgical repair. The more you stretch the skin, the harder it is to repair. It is common to see a localized pendulous irregularity of the earlobe, even with the best surgical repair, once you've damaged the skin with gauges. I agree that it is best to wait several months without gauges or earrings at all before repair, so that the skin contraction is optimized before treatment.

Diane I. Duncan, MD, FACS
Fort Collins Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 20 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.