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Ear Lobe Correction

Ear lobe correction, also known as ear lobe repair or ear lobe rejuvenation, is a procedure performed by a plastic surgeon to address various issues related to the appearance or functionality of the ear lobes.

Ear lobe correction refers to surgical procedures that aim to address common issues such as torn, stretched, elongated, or misshapen ear lobes. It can also involve repairing ear lobes that have been damaged due to trauma or earlobe gauging.

The ear lobe has a special importance among facial structures. It is particularly important due to the practice in many parts of the world of piercing it in order to wear ear rings.

The ear lobe consists of skin and fat. Unlike the rest of the ear, it does not have any thick cartilage. Hence, it is easy to perforate an ear lobe. Many cultures encourage the piercing of the ear lobe for adorning jeweler. Piercing the ear lobe adds to the possibility of ear lobe rupture. While some ear lobe tears may heal with time, many require medical attention. Most of the times, ear lobe repair is needed due to damage induced by wearing heavy ear rings or other such jewellery. In some cases, it may be because of someone (mostly a child) tugging on the earlobe / ear ring.

Earlobe repair can be classified as:

Incomplete cleft – this is usually bilateral and frequently found in elderly women who have worn heavy earrings for many years

Full cleft – usually unilateral, caused by direct local trauma like sudden pulling of earrings

There is another way of classifying earlobe repair:

  • The cleft extension does not go beyond half the distance between the initial orifice and the lower border of the ear lobe
  • The cleft extension goes beyond half of the distance between the initial orifice and the lower ear lobe border
  • Progressive cleft extension until it becomes a complete defect.

Most earlobe tears are operated upon using local anesthesia and a vasoconstrictor. In some instances, a second procedure may be needed to correct the defect. For simple splits, surgeons use sutures to repair the earlobe. This operation can last for about an hour or so. For droopy earlobes, the skin lining the tear is excised. Earlobe tears that do not reach the bottom may be treated immediately.

Complications from earlobe repair include keloids, hypo/hyper pigmentation and suture dehiscence in some individuals. Pain, if any is minimal for earlobe repairs. It can be taken care of by over the counter medication. It is important to note that ear lobe repair is different from otoplasty, or ear correction surgery.

How is ear lobe correction performed?

The specific technique used for ear lobe correction will depend on the nature of the problem. In cases of torn or split ear lobes, the surgeon will remove any scar tissue and carefully suture the edges back together. For stretched or elongated ear lobes, a surgical technique called earlobe reduction or earlobe reshaping may be performed to remove excess tissue and reshape the ear lobe. Earlobe gauging can be corrected by removing the excess stretched tissue and reconstructing a more natural-looking ear lobe.

earlobe reshaping and reduction surgery

Reshaping and resizing your earlobes can be safely done with loboplasty, a type of otoplasty. Loboplasty is the technical term for earlobe reshaping/resizing surgery. I regularly perform this surgery on children and adults who have an undesirable earlobe appearance. In adults, common reasons for the surgery is ptosis (sagging) caused by aging. Results improve their earlobes, giving my patients the normal appearance they want.

For simple correction, your treatment may only take 15 to 45 minutes to complete. Extensive correction can require up to an hour or more. Usually, this is necessary if cartilage is affected.

What will happen during your earlobe repair surgery

This procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia. Children may need general anesthesia.

Simple tears and large holes can be easily corrected with sutures. For enlarged earlobes, I place an incision that allows the removal of excess tissue. The incision is then closed and dressed.

If your earlobe needs to be reconstructed, tissue may be borrowed from another location and attached to the defective earlobe.

Recovering from your surgery

  • Dressings, bandages and sutures removed after a few days to a week
  • Minimal discomfort and swelling
  • Avoid rigorous physical activity for a few weeks

Earlobe reshaping and reduction surgery is usually a minimally invasive procedure that doesn’t involve a lengthy recovery period. Swelling and discomfort are minimal, so you’ll probably be able to see your expected results immediately after surgery. You may be able to return to your daily activities within a day or two, as long as you take care not to apply pressure or rub your earlobes for a few weeks. You can repierce your earlobes once you’ve recovered from your treatment, which is usually in two months or so.


Ear Lobe Correction – Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common reasons for seeking ear lobe correction?

There are several reasons why individuals seek ear lobe correction. Some common reasons include repairing torn or split ear lobes from trauma or earrings, reducing the size or elongation of stretched ear lobes, correcting ear lobe asymmetry, and addressing earlobe gauging for those who wish to reverse the effects of stretched piercings.

Is ear lobe correction a painful procedure?

Ear lobe correction is typically performed under local anesthesia, meaning the area is numbed, and you will be awake during the procedure. While some discomfort or mild pain may be experienced during and after the surgery, it is generally well-tolerated. Your surgeon may prescribe pain medication to manage any post-operative discomfort.

How long is the recovery period after ear lobe correction?

The recovery period after ear lobe correction is relatively short. You may experience some swelling, bruising, and tenderness in the treated area for a few days to a week. It’s important to follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions, which may include keeping the area clean, avoiding excessive pulling or pressure on the ear lobes, and refraining from wearing earrings for a period of time.

Are there any risks or complications associated with ear lobe correction?

Like any surgical procedure, ear lobe correction carries some potential risks and complications. These can include infection, bleeding, scarring, asymmetry, poor wound healing, sensitivity changes in the ear lobes, and dissatisfaction with the aesthetic outcome. It’s important to discuss the potential risks with your plastic surgeon and follow all pre- and post-operative instructions to minimize the chances of complications.

Can I wear earrings after ear lobe correction?

In most cases, you will need to avoid wearing earrings for a period of time following ear lobe correction to allow for proper healing. Your surgeon will provide specific instructions on when it is safe to resume wearing earrings and any restrictions or guidelines to follow during the healing process.

Will insurance cover the cost of ear lobe correction?

In general, ear lobe correction for cosmetic reasons is considered an elective procedure and is not covered by insurance. However, if the ear lobe issue is due to a medical condition or trauma, there may be a possibility of insurance coverage. It’s advisable to check with your insurance provider to understand the coverage details and any requirements.