The earlobes are a common site to display jewelry for both men and women alike. As a result, this area often becomes stretched, torn, or deformed from the weight of jewelry, ear gauging, or trauma. By reestablishing the contour and symmetry of the ear lobule, Oklahoma City facial plastic surgeon Scott Shadfar, MD can help restore a natural appearance and—if desired—reconstruct the ear lobe to allow a patient to re-pierce their ear.
INDICATIONS FOR EARLOBE REPAIR
Earlobe repair can be an appropriate procedure for men and women who wish to achieve a more balanced appearance in the earlobe, or seek to restore its form for subsequent piercing. Conditions that commonly result in consideration of earlobe repair surgery include:
- Stretching of tissue as a result of ear piercing or gauging
- An irregular earlobe shape or size
- Injury or trauma to the earlobe
- Congenital deformity (birth defect)
Dr. Shadfar will review your concerns and develop a treatment plan to reconstruct a damaged, altered, or otherwise unfavorable earlobe appearance based on your aesthetic goals. Although the nature of your surgery will depend on your unique needs, most cases of earlobe repair are straightforward and relatively fast procedures. If your reasons for surgery involve surgical work that extends beyond the earlobes, Dr. Shadfar may recommend an otoplasty to more comprehensively address the ear structure and achieve your goals.
EARLOBE REPAIR TECHNIQUE
Earlobe repair is performed under local anesthesia and is an outpatient procedure. Incisions are needed to remove any scar tissue from previous piercings, plugs, or gauges. There is an array of techniques that may be employed to repair your earlobe and the specific approach utilized during your surgery may include:
- Keloid scar repair—A technique meant to address the bumpy red scars that can form around cartilage piercings
- Split earlobe repair—Utilized when the earlobe is stretched or torn from the weight of heavy or large earrings
- Stretched earlobe repair—Designed to restore the proportions and symmetry of your natural earlobe following stretching of the tissue (often caused by ear gauging)
- Earlobe reduction—Can refine the dimensions of the lobules for patients who were born with prominent earlobes that are disproportionate to the size of the rest of the ear
Dr. Shadfar will ensure you are informed of the details of your procedure prior to operation. In general, excess scarring in the earlobes will be removed while the remaining tissue is locally recontoured to achieve a more symmetrical appearance that aligns with your surgical goals. Following the procedure, earlobe incisions are sutured closed and the area is taped. Patients often return to work almost immediately after this type of surgery.
RECOVERY AFTER EARLOBE REPAIR
After the procedure, there is some expected swelling of the earlobe, but little to no pain is associated with the reconstruction. After one week, the sutures are removed. The earlobes should continue to heal over the course of several weeks. If desired, the ears can be pierced six weeks following the procedure, just outside of the reconstruction line. Earlobe surgery patients may consider avoiding large or heavy earrings following the procedure to ensure the results of their reparation remain uncompromised