Tribal Earlobe Repair
Medically reviewed by Lorcan Sheppard BSc MBBS FRCA, Chief Medical Officer and the Medical Advisory Committee for The Private Clinic. Last Reviewed July 16th 2020.
Tribal earlobe piercings that are stretched to more than 10mm are unlikely to fully contract back to their original size. The altered shape of the earlobe then becomes difficult to hide and can negatively impact your appearance, social life or career.
What is tribal earlobe repair?
Tribal or stretched earlobe repair is a quick and effective procedure that corrects the appearance of over stretched ear lobes as a result of tribal ear piercing.
It is important to see someone who is experienced in tribal earlobe repair that is able to precisely recreate the curve of your earlobe to avoid any unnatural looking lumps or bumps.
Tribal ear repair at The Private Clinic is performed by some of the UK’s top consultant plastic surgeons who have extensive experience in ear correction surgery.
Where can I fix my tribal earlobe?
Tribal ear piercing dates back to ancient tribes and civilizations where body modification was a major part of their culture including achieving social status, religious reasons or for beauty purposes.
Tribal ear piercing stems from an original traditional ear piercing that is then stretched using a cone shaped taper which is pushed further through the earlobe on a daily basis or using large sized tunnels to deliberately stretch the piercing hole to allow larger pieces of jewellery to be worn.
When the time comes to remove these pieces of jewellery it is often difficult for the ear to return back to its original shape particularly for ears that have been stretched to over 10mm. Tribal earlobe correction surgery is then required to fix the earlobe and restore its original shape and size.
Tribal earlobe correction is often requested for those struggling to secure jobs or promotions in the workplace. Other side effects of tribal earlobe piercing are keloid scarring which can cause pain and severe itchiness and skin sagging which can cause an unsightly appearance to the ears causing patients to avoid social situations or wear their hair short.
Stretched Ear Lobe Repair Before and After Photos
Earlobe Repair Surgery opened up new career paths for Sam, read his patient story here
Our surgeons also perform split earlobe repair for smaller tears in the earlobe and earlobe reduction to re-shape or re-size the lobe.
Tribal Earlobe Repair Procedure
There are a couple of techniques for earlobe repair surgery and it will depend on the size of your stretched lobe. A hole with a small diameter may only require only a few stitches but if you’ve stretched your lobes beyond 10mm in diameter, they won’t be able to spring back to their original shape and may require for the excess flesh to be trimmed before they can be reshaped. It is important to remove any excess flesh before sewing the hole closed as this allows the earlobe to be reshaped to back to its natural curve.
The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic and takes around 15-20 minutes per ear. The earlobe will be closed up with absorbable stitches and you will have small dressings placed on the ear.
As tribal earlobe repair surgery is performed under local anaesthetic there is minimal downtime involved with many patients returning to work and daily activities the next day. The overall healing time for tribal earlobe repair is 4-6 weeks for the stitches to absorb and the wounds to heal.
Your surgeon will advise you on scar management and on when you can have your ears pierced again should you wish to do so.
You will notice an instant difference in the appearance of your ears immediately after surgery. It will take 4-6 weeks for the ears to fully heal but once done your surgeon will be able to advise you on scar management to ensure you have the best results.
When it comes to researching cosmetic earlobe surgery procedures there are a lot of words and abbreviations that may seem confusing. We have created a glossary of the most used Plastic Surgery words which you can view here.
What is a stretched or tribal earlobe?
A stretched earlobe is when the lobe has been purposely stretched using various ear taper tools and plugs to create an enlarged appearance.
Will a stretched earlobe heal naturally without surgery?
If you had ear stretchers and they were below 10mm it is possible that the hole in your ear will naturally constrict back to a smaller size. If the hole is over 10mm then the hole will gradually shrink over time, but not enough so that it would not be noticeable and you will then require surgery to repair it.
Is there a limit to the size of earlobe stretch that can be repaired?
Our surgeons are very experienced and are able to successfully repair all sizes of stretched tribal earlobes. Click here to book a consultation to see how we can help.
How long does tribal earlobe repair surgery take?
We usually estimate 15-20 minutes of surgery per ear. This will vary depending how big the ear is stretched too.
Is tribal earlobe repair carried out under general or local anaesthetic?
We carry out the majority of our tribal earlobe repair procedures under local anaesthetic. The procedure itself is very quick and we will ensure that you are not in any pain throughout the procedure. If you are feeling anxious about surgery then a sedative could also be used but general anaesthetic is not normally used.
Does tribal earlobe repair hurt?
You should not be in any pain during tribal earlobe repair surgery as both a topical numbing cream and local anaesthetic will have been applied to the area being treated. Post-surgery, you may start to feel a little discomfort as the anaesthetic wears off. In most cases this is easily dealt with but it can also be managed with pain relief such as paracetamol.
What happens during a tribal earlobe repair procedure?
Topical numbing cream will have been applied to your earlobes and local anaesthetic is then injected into the lobe. At this point your ear should become completely numb and your ear will be wiped down and sterile drapes will be placed around the area to keep it clean. The technique used for stretched earlobes will depend on the on the shape and size of the earlobe but in most cases a section of tissue will be removed and the open ends will be stitched back together with absorbable stiches and a small bandage will be applied. Your surgeon will then start to repair your other ear if you are having both sides treated.
Will I be able to drive home after stretched earlobe repair surgery?
If your tribal earlobe repair procedure took place under local anaesthetic then you should be fine to drive home afterwards. However we do recommend that patients come with a friend or family member in case you feel unwell or faint after the procedure and they can instead drive you home.
How long will the results from tribal earlobe repair surgery last?
The results from tribal earlobe repair surgery are permanent so unless you decide to stretch your ear again, they should not return to how they looked pre-surgery.
Can I pierce or stretch my earlobes again after tribal earlobe surgery?
It is possible to pierce or stretch your ears again after tribal earlobe repair but for the best results we do advise that you refrain from doing so. A standard ear piercing avoiding the scar would be fine once the earlobe has fully healed after 6 months but try to refrain from stretching the lobe again as it will be weaker and more prone to splitting.
Will I need time off work after tribal earlobe surgery?
The majority of patients return to work the following day after their tribal earlobe repair procedure. If you work in a dusty environment or in a particularly strenuous job then it may be advised that you take a couple of days off to allow for the earlobe to heal. It is worth noting that your stitches may still be visible for up to a week post-procedure so additional time off may be required if you work in a cosmetically sensitive job.
How soon can I exercise after tribal earlobe repair surgery?
You will be able to get back to your exercise routine 48 hours after your surgery. We advise patients to wait 48 hours to reduce the risk of bleeding and pain in the area treated. You should also take care if you are involved in contact sports and ensure that your ears are protected and not at risk of being rubbed for at least 6 weeks post-procedure.
When can I wash my hair after tribal earlobe repair surgery?
You will be able to wash your hair 24 hours after stretched earlobe repair surgery. We recommend that you try to avoid the earlobe getting excessively wet and that you gently pat dry the area afterwards. Full aftercare advice will be provided to you on the day of your surgery.
How long does it take for the earlobe to heal after tribal earlobe repair surgery?
It can take up to 4-6 weeks for the stitches to absorb and the wounds from tribal earlobe repair surgery to heal.
Will my stitches need to be removed after tribal earlobe repair surgery?
At The Private Clinic we use absorbable stitches in earlobe repair surgery. Absorbable begin to naturally dissolve after 1-2 weeks. If you notice visible stitches after two weeks then you may need to book a post-op appointment to get them removed.
What is the scar like after tribal earlobe repair surgery?
All surgical procedures unfortunately cause a scar. Tribal earlobe repair creates a thin linear scar on your earlobe. Initially this scar may appear red but this should gradually fade over time and in most cases becomes unnoticeable. Our surgeons will be able to advise you on scar care post-procedure to help you achieve the best results.
How much does Tribal Earlobe Repair cost?
Bilateral stretched / tribal earlobe repair starts at £2,100 and can vary according to the degree of correction required, whether it is just the one ear or both that need the procedure and the size of your flesh tunnel. One tribal earlobe (unilaterial) repair starts from £1050
We don’t follow a one-price-fits-all policy and prices are quoted on a case by case basis. You will be given an accurate quote for your requirements following your consultation.
Consultations with our plastic surgeons are £100 at our London Harley Street Clinic.
Consultations with our plastic surgeons are £50 at our Bristol, Buckinghamshire, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Northampton clinics.
We offer consultations with our highly experienced Patient Coordinators which require a £25 refundable deposit to secure your place.
Patient coordinators are able to offer you all the information you require prior to meeting a surgeon.
Please note all consultations at our Harley Street clinic are with a surgeon.
Is tribal earlobe repair surgery safe?
As with any surgical procedure there are always risks but tribal earlobe repair is a very safe procedure. Common complications include poor scaring and infection.
Is there a tribal earlobe repair clinic near me?
The Private Clinic has clinics nationwide so we are sure to have an expert earlobe repair surgeon located near to you.
Our clinics are in;
- London – 98 Harley street, W1G7HZ
- Manchester – 25 St John Street, M3 4DT
- Birmingham – 88 Hagley Road, B16 8LU – West Midlands
- Leeds – 45 Park Square North, LS1 2NP – Yorkshire
- Buckinghamshire – Stokenchurch Medical Center Oxford Road, HP14 3SX – South East England
- Bristol – 92c Whiteladies Road, BS8 2QN – Clifton
- Northampton – 82 Billing Road, NN1 5DF – East Midlands
We also have consulting rooms in Milton Keynes where you can have consultations with one of our patient coordinators.
To find out more about booking a consultation at a clinic near you, contact us here.
What does a free tribal ear repair consultation mean?
We are proud to have some of the UK’s leading Consulting Plastic Surgeons working with us and together we strive to deliver effective solutions coupled with the best patient care available. All of our surgeons have extensive experience and knowledge has made them very well respected within our industry. Tribal Earlobe Repair consultations available at our Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, London, Northampton, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes clinics.
Comments from patients
“I’m so pleased with the results and it is really life changing for me!” *Nicole Hopkirk, Former Managing Editor, MSN Health
“I just wanted to say thanks to you all for being such a great team and for making me feel at ease from the start to finish on the day of my procedure. I was really nervous, but you all made me feel much more comfortable with your warm and friendly approach. I would highly recommend you to anyone and can’t wait to see my final results!” *Birmingham
“So impressed, extremely professional, extremely friendly, lovely set up. Felt so relaxed and at ease, would more than highly recommend The Private Clinic and I’m considering having other procedures in the new year. Thank you!” *Catherine, Leeds
“Thank you so much. Everyone was so friendly and caring. Could not fault anything. I have already recommended the treatment to everyone.” *Bristol
“I am 100% satisfied. Great doctor and staff. The results are amazing. I feel like a new person. You have the WOW factor!” *Manchester