They’re definitely trendy and in style; however, heavy earrings can be a dangerous fashion accessory. According to experts, more and more women are actually seeking surgery to heal from the damage caused by way-too-heavy earrings.
Richard Ha, MD, a plastic surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas says he sees the damage of heavy earrings far too often in his patients. The earlobe skin is very fragile, and a “split,” gash, or elongation of the hole can occur. Earlobes most commonly tear from repeated use of heavy or large earrings.
At first, patients with partial tears are told to simply stop wearing their earrings to let the lobe heal on its own — but that often doesn’t work.
Sometimes the hole of a pierced ear can even split completely, which makes it impossible to wear earrings at all. For earring lovers, that can be pretty devastating. As was the case for Paula Dylong, one of Dr. Ha’s patients we talked to in this HealthSource video.
The fix: Earlobe repair
Paula eventually ended up having her ear lobes surgically repaired. It’s actually a relatively simple procedure that takes only 30 minutes to an hour under local anesthesia. The elongation or split is very carefully cut out, and then closed up with very fine stitches.
After the tear is fixed, it will need several weeks to completely heal. Re-piercing can then be done in another six to eight weeks. As for cost, the procedure can cost anywhere between $300-$1500, depending how bad the tear is and whether or not you need one or both earlobes done.
Preventing “droopy” earlobes
Now if you love wearing heavy earrings—but don’t want to end up needing surgery one day— here are some tips from the experts:
- Avoid wearing heavy earrings for long periods of time
- Don’t fall asleep in your earrings (big or small)
- Consider using an over-the-counter earlobe support product that prevents tears (you can find them in most drug stores or by searching “earlobe support” online)
- Remove earrings during certain situations: using the telephone, at the hair salon, working out
- Be aware that small children and babies may be attracted to earrings
- Remove your earrings before removing upper clothing, like sweaters
Some of these may seem like no-brainers, but it’s always good to be reminded. Don’t let your passion for fashion trump your good sense!