Ear lobes can be stretched deliberately or otherwise. As a fashion and cultural practice it has been done for thousands of years. Wearing heavy earrings over a long period of time, or using large-gauge earrings that progressively widen the holes until they are large, are two common causes. Ear lobes can be repaired and returned to their natural state. In some extreme cases, surgery will be necessary, but stretched ear lobes can generally be repaired with less drastic measures. Gradual shrinkage will naturally begin once the use of gauges or heavy earrings discontinues. This often depends on the person's age and how long the lobe has been stretched.
Prevent further damage and encourage healing of stretched ear lobes by not wearing earrings for three to four months. In less severe cases the ear lobe should begin to shrink and go back to normal.
Remove earrings when you are dressing or undressing and when you sleep to prevent them from getting caught on clothing or bedding and further stretching the ear lobe.
Don't wearing large-gauge earrings. In cases of smaller gauge earring holes, the ear tissue will shrink back to normal once gauges are removed. Larger gauge holes, however, may need to be surgically repaired to avoid permanent deformity.
In cases of extreme stretching speak to a plastic surgeon about your desire to have minor ear repair surgery (look in the phone book under "plastic surgeons" or do an online search). Repairing ear lobes requires only minor surgery that generally only lasts a few minutes and the doctor will use local anesthetic. The procedure will involve cutting the ear lobe and then sewing it back together.
Keep your ear lobes clean after surgery and wash a few times a day to prevent infection. The holes will be closed at this point.
Apply antibiotic cream to your ear lobes to help prevent infection and to speed up the healing process.
Consult your plastic surgeon first if you decide you would like to get your ears pierced after you've had surgery. It's important to get your ears pierced by a professional using the right techniques and equipment. In some cases, the surgeon can insert a temporary ring to reopen the hole for you. This ring will be removed after about two weeks. Pain medication is generally not needed after surgery. Sutures are often removed in about a week.
Wear only lightweight earrings in the future to prevent restretching of the ear lobes.