Repairing Your Earlobe

beautiful young woman pointing finger to her earIn past blogs, we’ve discussed what our four board-certified plastic surgeons at Elite can do to help with a child’s overly protruding ears. Also known as ear pinning, these simple procedures bring protruding ears closer to the head. This heads off future teasing in school.

We haven’t talked about the other type of ear surgery our surgeons perform — earlobe repair surgery.

What concerns can earlobe repair fix?

Fashion trends come and go, but the skin of our earlobes isn’t necessarily on board. At Elite, we generally see two causes behind the necessary earlobe repairs — stretching or trauma.

Trauma can happen by catching an earring on clothing, your hairbrush, even on bushes when out walking. If you pick up a small child, he or she might grab that shiny hoop earring right in front of their eyes. If the earring catches or is pulled, it can tear right through the bottom of the lobe.

Today’s earrings have also become heavier and wider. The weight can pull down and enlarge the original earring piecing to the degree it is visible to others.

Earrings are also growing in diameter, the ultimate example being gauges. Gauges are discs placed in the earlobe. If left in place long enough, when these gauges are removed the holes they created cannot close up and will need surgery to do so.

How is earlobe surgery performed?

These are outpatient procedures performed in our on-site surgical center in the Mercy Health Complex on Cherry Street. Patients only require local anesthesia. Reshaping or resizing your earlobes is called lobuloplasty, a type of otoplasty. Earlobe repair of a torn or stretched earlobe falls under otoplasty, not that the designations make a big difference.

Once the patient is locally anesthetized, your Elite Plastic Surgery surgeon works with the skin, removing excess skin in cases of sagging or stretching, or bringing ripped skin back together in a repair. A small amount of skin is removed to create a better incision to stitch back together and heal with a minimal scar. These are simple procedures that are very satisfying as our surgical expertise enables our surgeons to make the incision scar very thin. This scar fades very quickly in the months after these procedures.

What is the recovery time for earlobe repair or reduction surgery?

In most cases of earlobe repair, we only apply bandages to the lower ear after these procedures. Over-the-counter ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) is usually all that’s needed for discomfort, and it helps with swelling. Cold compresses are effective for helping to minimize swelling, as well. Apply the compress in a 30 on and 30 off rotation. This is only necessary for the first day after your surgery. After the bandage comes off, you’ll need to apply Polysporin/Bacitracin ointment to the incision. If your stitches are not dissolvable, they will be removed usually within one week. Your recovery is mostly complete by that time.

Have a torn or otherwise damaged earlobe that you’d like to address? Call the team at Elite Plastic Surgery, (616) 459-1907, and set up a consultation for earlobe repair.

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