Monday, August 9, 2010

Ear Plugs -- A Form of Tissue Expansion

Updated 3/2017 -- photos and all links (except to my own posts) removed as many no longer active.

Recently, I followed a link from @plsurgeon on twitter to this article:  Holes for popular plug ear jewelry usually stretched open, not cut.
I have yet to be asked to repair any holes in ear lobes from plugs, but have repaired many torn ear lobes from pierced ear jewelry.  While I admit, I’m not a fan of ear lobe plugs, I appreciate the ability of our body’s tissue which allows for the expansion.  (photo credit)

Physicians use soft tissue expansion for reconstruction to “expand” or increase the available tissue to replace missing tissue.
The expansion or stretching technique used for ear plugs is not done to replace missing tissue, but to allow a larger plug to be used as jewelry rather than the fine wire of traditional ear piercing.
….Hoover is a do-it-yourself sort of guy. First, he pierced his ears himself with a sewing needle. He then inserted tapered rods to stretch the holes until they were large enough to hold plug jewelry. "It's a painful gain," he said.
Fitterer sells tapered rods in his piercing parlor or performs the stretching himself. He said rare parlors cut large holes.  ……

1 comment:

Jerry Willman said...

My ears are stretched to 00 gauge (approx.10mm) Thats about the largest one can go and still be able to remove them and be able to let them shrink back to normal. Any larger they would probally need surgery. If you stretch them too fast there is a chance you will blowout the piercing. Turning the hole inside out. Sadly I have seen kids use punches to make a hole quickly.
I don't plan on going any larger. I'm Cherokee and the Cherokee did practice earlobe stretching and facial tattoo's. Heavy ear jewelry will also stretch the lobes bigger.