Stretched Earlobe "Corrective" Surgery

A long time ago when BME was only a few years old, my grandmother offered me a big pile of money to have my earlobes surgically reversed… I needed the money so I initially agreed, but backed out at the last moment and thankfully still have my ears.

I’m seeing more and more earlobe stretching reversals these days, some amateur and some by a doctor. Mike’s, shown below, is one of the biggest reversals that I know of, going from a full (and very healthy looking) three inches down to nothing at all!

Anyway, I’m taking the weekend off from writing [here], so check back on Monday for more posts, and I do expect to update BME once or twice over the weekend. Keep on sending in pictures!

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

27 thoughts on “Stretched Earlobe "Corrective" Surgery

  1. The following comments were imported from our old comment system:

    Posted on 02-10-2006 22:15:49 by syntaxless
    Anyone happen to know if this was surgical or not, who did it, where it was done, and if you can stretch again after the reversal.

    Posted on 02-10-2006 23:28:09 by Eternal_Ice
    does anyone else notice there’s more of a smile in the before pic? just a thought..

    Posted on 02-11-2006 02:51:13 by taterotica
    it always makes me sad when i see this done. whoever did the reversal did a great job though. even though it makes me sad to see, i have given thought to reversing mine as well, only because normal lobes look so weird and exotic to me now.

    Posted on 02-11-2006 03:10:35 by Jets
    It’s amazing how that completely changes the shape of one’s face.

    Posted on 02-11-2006 04:13:48 by gurf boy!
    he’s probably not smiling eternal cos I would imagine that both sides of his face would be in pain, I know if I bang my lobes hard the side of my face there hurts too, like interconnected or something….

    so maybe thats it? I duno im not a doctor lol

    Posted on 02-11-2006 06:39:12 by Poppie
    Obviously people do this for their own reasons, and that is fine. But it always makes me rather jealous as I will never have lovely big lobes like that ):

    Posted on 02-11-2006 18:04:09 by glider
    I just got this email from Mike (the form here wasn’t working for him):

    Hey folks, couple answers….

    1) This was done by a doctor in Denver, CO

    2) I noticed the smile thing too. That was just a freak thing. Nothing hidden or dark reflected by that slight difference.

    3) These photos are a week apart and pain was not a factor in the lack of smile. In fact, pain wasn’t a factor at all. Lidocaine was the only drug used and once that wore off I felt fine. I was driving down I-25 within 20 minutes of the surgery.

    4) With the way my lobes are healing, I probably could stretch again if I wanted. But I think that varies between procedures. It all depends on who does it and how well they do.

    5) True, everyone has their own reasons. I could write a book on all the different reactions I got from Modified and un-Modified people before, during, and after my stretching experience. Many Modified and un-Modified people said the SAME things… just at different times.

    It has been a most interesting experiment to witness.

    Posted on 02-11-2006 22:03:30 by yoyo
    Personally I think the after looks way better I only like stretched ears when the jewelry is in otherwise it looks a bit weird to me.

    Posted on 02-11-2006 22:39:28 by ChopperMark
    IAM:Madsteel had her’s reversed and I looks like IAM:Twylly had her’s removed too. I for one would not mind hearing why these folks have chosen to reverse these mods after years of stretching. It wouldn’t be a bad interview article.

    Posted on 02-12-2006 00:12:38 by CS Williams
    I agree, it would be very interesting to read an article on why people retire permanent mods through surgery and such.

    Posted on 02-12-2006 08:17:20 by tokyowars
    I want to stetch but because I’m studying to be a high school teacher it’s not really a goal that’s obtainable. All my mod’s (at this point in time) have to be hidden. Maybe it was a career change?
    I for one am looking forward to a time when society accepts that each person is an individual, and should be treated as such, not discrimminated against employment wise because of looks.
    (A dream I know, but sometimes it’s nice to dream…)

    Posted on 02-13-2006 00:51:39 by duly impressed
    the dedication to mod is powerful enough, in any way that extensive but the dedication to REVERT is nothing short of impressive…for so many reasons saddened as well, i salute you!

    Posted on 02-13-2006 15:48:54 by socialobscenity
    Of course I love the big lobes, but it looks like the procedure was well done at least, and they look fine now too.
    I agree that an article about why people decide to ‘go back’ would be really interesting.

    Posted on 02-14-2006 05:10:35 by free
    im just curious of what the cost of a procedure like this is?

    Posted on 02-15-2006 23:31:59 by Halo
    Everyone has their reasons, but it is a shame to see such beautiful, healthy, stretched lobes go back to their “original” state.

    Posted on 05-20-2006 05:08:23 by Plugpierce
    I am actually considering lobe reversal surgery as well. Mine have been at 60mm, and now down to 40mm (as small as they could possibly go on their own). I haven’t worn jewelry for months and found it to be much more comfortable than having big plugs or tunnels in. My reasons for wanting lobe reversal are 1)it’s a hastle to keep my lobes warm in the winter, 2)they draw more negative attention than positive, 3)I miss the plain lobe look, 4)lobes constantly get some dry peeling skin on them, 5) I haven’t been able to go past 60mm after about 5 attempts throughout the course of a year so my lobes have already been at their peak, plus 6)they also seem rather uneven to me(thin and thick spots). I believe the cost of such a procedure is around $3,000, based on some of the research I’ve done.

  2. idk about the rest of you guys and girls but i believe that in the first picture he looks alot like buddha idk i just thought i’d put it out there

  3. i’m also curious, how much did this cost?

    mine aren’t nearly as big though.

    i want to get it done only because i’ve had mine for so many years and it’s becoming a hassle.

  4. I don’t see how the reasons of reversal could be a mystery to ANYBODY. Some reviewers act like they can’t remember a time when they had normal ears. I’ve naturally sized down from 11/16 to about 2g by just leaving jewelry out, And now I wear retainers when in public. I’m not the kind of person to care what people think, but when you need a job, or are going through tough times and people are constantly looking at you in disgust, and nobody takes you seriously despite whats on the inside, it becomes more of a hassle than an enjoyable addition to your body mods. I agree with what alot of people will say to my comment. “They don’t understand. It shouldn’t matter if you have stretched lobes. Body mods shouldn’t be such a taboo.” Right. But that doesn’t change the reality, people. The majority of people don’t like huge earlobes. Can you, in your right mind, screw up your priorities so much that having stretched ears comes before having an enjoyable career? In all honesty, can you look at the before pictures of his earlobes and say “yeah, thats easier to look at than normal ears. Really attractive, in fact” and truly agree with what you’re saying? Ofcourse though, to each his own, and I won’t judge anyone else’s interests, but come on. If you have, or ever had stretched earlobes, you’ve experienced points where you had second thoughts. Is anybody seriously too brain dead to understand why normal earlobes could be desirable after living with stretched ones?

  5. I envy you val, 11/16 to 2ga, if only mine would drop more than 3/4″. I want nothing more than to keep my lobes, however society has driven me to the point I’m going to chop them off.

    top 5 reasons why I’m chopping my earlobes off:

    5: Parrots LOVE me, I’m afraid of parrots… (it’s near phobia level)

    4: If I wear tunnels people with bad vision think it’s a mirror, if I wear plugs people think I’m wearing old lady clip on earrings…

    3: I can grow dick cheese in my ear, that’s just not right.

    2: Waking up every fucking morning wondering where the fuck your plugs are… and then if you can’t find em you have to have soggy asshole ear the rest of the day, not fun at work. (I’ve even called in sick cause I can’t find a plug)

    1: Ever been asked if you’re trying to go African?

  6. He looks great now, I think. He looked kinda like an elephant before… Just my opinion but I hate stretched piercings. Anywhere, lol.

  7. hey, i was wondering, wat size can u stretch to before they wont grow back, im at a 10mm atm and want to go to 12mm or 14mm- will they grow back from this size?

  8. Wow. This blog article made me think about if I should stretch or not. I’ve always wanted to get pierced, lobes since I was a kid and nipples since a year back. And for about half a year plus more I’ve been addicted to stretched lobes – I love the look of it when jewelry is in, and the jewelry is just… WOW.

    But having them reversed is something I would not like to do other than if I simply got tired of the look.

    now I’m confused.

  9. i would really like to know how much this costs: done by a physician or an body mod artist. also if it’s a feasible procedure for your average piercer to perform {ie any vascular structures that need proper reconnection etc}.

    i stretched my lobes when i was 17 and it only took me a year to get to 1.25 in. however, 5 years later, out of school, and in need of upper level employment, im really not seeing the allure anymore.
    i really dont have a grand to drop on reducing my lobes but at this point its become necessary, i cant work for a decent company with my mods showing [which to me is really fucking pathetic] but its not that im simply ‘submitting’ to anyone elses expectations, the pros are so outweighed by cons for me.

  10. i dont know if its too late to comment on this if anyone checks on it or not, but my ears were stretched to 1 1/4″ and i went to a plastic surgeon and hes trying to make me pay 3 grand to get them fixed, is there any other place i can get them fixed for cheaper?

  11. my ears were stretched to 5/8 inch and ive had mine out for a while and they are no where near completely healed… im joining the airforce and apparently they have to heal completely.. does ne one know any surgens in KY? just wonderin?

  12. I’m also from Denver and was looking to get a similar procedure done and was just wondering if I could get more of the details from Mike..

  13. Can you please give me your doctor,s information very much interested for my son and your ears are looking wonderful.

  14. Im a 15 year old boy,and have both my ears simply pierced,but i really want to streatch out my ears to about an inch or maybe a little smaller,and i was wondering,would my ears reverse to their normal size if i take them out when i get older,or would i have to resort to surgery,because i can not see them being a life long choice for me,depending on my future career…
    I was also wondering how long would they take to get to my desired size,if i managed to streatch them blow out free!..

  15. unfortunately, i’m at this exact junction in my life right now. i’ve had both ears pierced for over 10 years, stretched for about 5 years now. currently, i’m sitting at about 5/8″ lobes. they have definitely become an issue with me. i am a college grad with a degree in electronics. i’m from a small town in southeast iowa and i definitely get more negative looks and comments than positive ones. i also have an 8 gauge labret that i take out for job interviews and whatnot. the major problem i have encountered has been with my lobes. i’ve interviewed north of chicago and in southern california for excellent jobs, only to be told that i must remove my piercings to be employed. and i refused. i believe in freedom of expression and a world and workplace free from discrimination based on mods. unfortunately, i’m still in southeast iowa looking for a job. luckily i’ve been working for a small t.v repair shop and my boss is totally cool so i still have my jewelry in. it’s to the point that to make ends meet, i’m ready to work at wal-mart stocking shelves at night to make ends meet. it seems like rock bottom for an electronics tech that should be making damn good money for the skills he possesses, not being declined for having tunnels in my ears. and for those employers with reasonable thoughts, if you exist, pyrex tunnels (glass for the slower readers) are non-conductive and pose no threat to my safety while working with electricity. thanks for letting me vent, i appreciate it!

  16. Hey Gray D., i actually started stretching my ears when i was about 14 and ended going up to 1 inch about 2 years ago. I’m almost 20 now, but i always kept in my gauges in for awhile because i liked them, so if you are more concerned about speed than enjoying each size you wouldn’t take anywhere near that long. Just listen to your ears (no pun intended) and when they are honestly 100 % healed, move on up.

    As far as them going back to normal size on their on, hell no. You will absolutely have to get reversed surgery if you want it completely gone. Though the surgery is pricey, depending on your passion of gauges, i definitely think having them are worth it. I have loved my gauges ever since i’ve had them and i love spending money on exotic gauges i find everywhere. I have had no criticisms in the job world thus far and i’ve actually had my boss and customers compliment them — and this is in the gourmet food business! My career path after college however is in the art field as an illustrator. I may not have as much trouble getting a job than in other more corporate business jobs, but i am just going to play it by ear (again, no pun intended).

    In other words, you should totally get gauges if you want to, never let society make that choice for you… and there are ALWAYS ways to change something if you change your mind.

  17. Hi,

    I really would like to have my ear corrected my ears at 40 mm and for many reasons im sick of them and need it sorted, i just wondered if anyone could help me out give me some rough prices or alternatives to get this fixed,


  18. my ears were stretched to 1 1/4″ and i recently downsized to 1 inch. im looking for a plastic surgeon to have my lobes corrected and sewn up. does anyone know of a good surgeon or doctor thats cheap and affordable around the LA/OC area ?

  19. My ears are currently stretched to 1″ and have been for the past decade. Tomorrow I’m off to have them corrected. It will cost $1,100 total. I am 33 years old and started a business. Unfortunately, perception is reality and I just can’t rationalize keeping my plugs at the expense of my ability to grow my business. I have always had to jump through hoops in this area and always end up being overlooked and not taken seriously. I’m just tired of people dismissing what I have to say etc. because I am tattooed and pierced. The tats can be covered when I meet with potential clients but my lobes jump out at people and boom I’m pigean holed again! I guess what I’m trying to say is that my plugs give me no pleasure anymore and are a constant source of aggravation…

  20. 4 years after getting them pierced i’m at 7/8ths. so inlove with my bling tunnels. i get tonnes of positive feedback, lots of people say they like the size i’m at, and ask me not to go bigger. they’ve been saying that since I was a 00 though lol.
    I want mine reversed because I now know that even though they say they are a good size now, and not to go bigger, what they really mean is the jewelry is nice, I have a great personality that makes up for it, but it’d be better if they weren’t larger than a 2g.
    I’m sick of people constantly asking me if it hurt, or drunk girls asking to put their finger through my tunnel, people making comments about africa like I don’t already know (i actually know more than the people asking the questions, duh). but my main reason is that people see the stretched ear lobes and not me. Today someone wondered if it hurt, said she didnt understand why people would want to do it, and then said “at least it makes a nice conversation piece”… i don’t want my ears to be a topic of discussion anymore.
    I started for many reasons, both spiritual and aesthetic. my ears belong to me. i dont want to belong to my ears anymore

  21. I have a friend, a young teen, who’s starting to guage up just a bit, and thinking it’s entirely reversible as long as you don’t go “too big”. While it is certainly “different for everyone”, there must be some rough guidelines which cover most people.

    Specifically, the fact that they halve in size a few hours after pulling it out doesn’t mean in another day it’ll be gone! She’s probably only at 4mm, but that’s a far cry from the normal posts, and while I respect her opinion to modify her body if she chooses – I want to make sure she doesn’t falsely believe she’s not modding her body when she is.

    The question, then, is how large do you get before you really are approaching irreversibility? I know she’s on the small end of the scale, but I’d feel better not speaking from ignorance on this.


  22. I’ve heard a lot of different opinions when it comes to the age old “how far can you stretch them before they won’t return to normal” question, but it seems to me that 2 to 0 gauge is as far as most people can go before their ears will never shrink back to normal. As you said, it differs for everything, but 2g sounds safest to me.

  23. i have 1″ lobes and have had plugs for the last decade, and all i get is negative feedback. especially from employers and women. i love them but i have been considering the surgery or just cuttin them off . all i can say is really think about it before u stretch ur lobes. its all good if ur in the industry but if ur not it can be very difficult for you.

  24. I have 1″ lobes. I really want to go bigger. But I had to let one grow up due to complications. It doesn’t look like I can restretch without surgery :/ it sux so bad. And to all of you ppl asking if they will grow back. It’s different for everyone. Mine went from 1″ all the way back down to 6g (barely noticeable) hopefully since its so smAll surgery won’t b so damn expensive. I hope I helped answer that question for u.

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