Historically, earlobes have been adorned with precious gems and metals, often to signify the social status of a person. Today, earrings continue to be popular indications of personal style and social status. Some people wear gauges which stretch the earlobe. The gauge size is increased slowly to eventually create a large hole in the earlobe which can become problematic.
This practice has grown in popularity in mainstream fashion. However, earrings and earlobe stretching can damage the earlobe to the point where cosmetic surgery is needed. Others have worn heavy earrings for so long that the lobe is stretched and the earlobe is distorted. Earlobe repair and reduction can correct tears that may lead to infection and improper healing. In most cases, patients who undergo earlobe repair are able to continue wearing pierced earrings after the earlobes heal.