Most people associate plastic surgery with bigger procedures such as tummy tuck, facelift, and liposuction. But we receive many requests for smaller, less-talked about procedures such as earlobe and other piercing repair in our Toronto VISAGE Clinic.
As with tattoos and ear gauging (which I also repair), piercings come as trends and “phases” in one’s life. One might be content with their artistic piercing “forever,” while others entering a more serious phase of life or a rigorous work market, decide it is now time to erase the signs of adolescence and early adulthood.
What are the types of piercings?
The most common piercing locations include the nostrils, nasal septum, cheeks, lips, eyebrows, tongue, chin, ears, nipples, bellybutton, and genitals. Although umbilicoplasty is occasionally used as a term for the repair of a belly-button piercing and otoplasty for repair of a torn or gauged earlobe, most of those piercing repairs do not have a formal name in plastic surgery. Some of the colloquial names of these piercings are:
- intertragic notch
- rook antihelix
- snug (anti helix)
- lip frenulum
- tongue frenulum
Female genital piercings
- vertical clitoral hood (VCH)
- horizontal clitoral hood (HCH)
- inner labia
- outer labia
- Princess Diana
- clitoral glans
- Princess Albertina piercings
Male genital piercings
- glans piercing (ampallang, apadravya)
- dydoe (rim of the glans’ corona)
- Prince Albert (urethal)
- lorum (between penis and scrotum)
- reverse Prince Albert
- deep shaft
- magic cross
- guiche (perineum)
Does piercing repair require general anesthesia?
Although most traditional plastic surgery procedures require general anesthesia, piercing repair is usually done under local anesthesia, where finesse is king. Other such delicate procedures that are done under local anesthesia include the various lip lifts, nipple and areolar reduction, tattoo removal, gauged earlobe repair, buccal fat pad removal, dimpleplasty, umbilicoplasty, etc.
How are piercings repaired?
To understand how a plastic surgeon will repair piercings, one has to know a few healing principles. A “chronic” perforation of the human tissue and maintenance of that perforation with a foreign body such as gauging devices, studs, rings, and barbells lead to a mature “epithelization” of the pierced tract. This epithelization prevents the edges of the piercing from gluing back together once the foreign material is no longer worn in the piercing. That’s why a small plastic surgery procedure is needed to close the piercing. Precise excision of the pierced tract and meticulous placement of the final small scar are crucial for an optimal outcome.
All repairs of old piercings involve the removal of the lining of the tract, and consequently, usually involve small stitches at both ends of the tract. This can usually be done under local anesthesia, and most of the time, dissolving sutures are used if an internal component is present.
You can see the type of results you can expect by browsing our earlobe repair before-and-after photo gallery. Cost varies according to the procedure required.
What is recovery like after piercing repair?
Recovery after piercing repair is fast and does not usually require time off from work.
If you want to have an earlobe or other piercing repaired, contact us online or call us at (416) 929-9800.
Dr. Marc DuPéré, aesthetic plastic surgeon