Cosmetic earlobe surgery is a commonly performed minor procedure. Surgical options depend on a patient’s aesthetic concerns and clinical presentation. What are different types of cosmetic earlobe surgery?
Repair of elongated or torn piercing tracts
Patients often present with stretched or torn piercing tracts following trauma or more commonly, years of heavy earring wear. The left earlobe is often more severely affected than the right given repetitive trauma holding the phone against this side. Leaving earrings in while sleeping may also increase the likelihood of developing piercing tract elongation. The low and off-center appearance of earrings in stretched piercing tracts may be of aesthetic concern. When the tracts become even more stretched, one may lose earrings through the hole. To repair a stretched or torn earlobe piercing site, the tract or earlobe cleft is resected and then the two surfaces are stitched back together. The stitches are quite delicate and are placed on both the front and back of the earlobe. When reconstructing a complete tear of the earlobe, the first stitch is meticulously performed to reconstruct the earlobe margin to avoid notching.
Skin elasticity decreases as aging progresses. This may lead to elongation of the earlobes in addition to loss of soft tissue volume. Earlobe reduction is another type of cosmetic earlobe surgery that may achieve a more youthful appearance of the earlobes. It is generally performed by resecting a wedge of tissue medially towards the junction of the earlobe and cheek. The earlobe may then be reduced and incisions are well-concealed at natural junction points. Closure may also be performed to achieve an “attached” appearance of the lobe, in contrast to detached earlobes whereby the earlobe extends below the point of attachment.
Reconstruction following removal of earlobe spacers
Some patients may regret placing earlobe spacers and present for earlobe surgery after their removal. It is recommended to first gradually downsize spacers to allow the tissues to contract. Once the size of the tract has plateaued, patients may then wish to proceed with cosmetic earlobe surgery to restore anatomic appearance of the earlobe. Given that the severity of earlobe stretching varies based on the gauge of spacer and length of wear, the surgical technique varies between patients based on clinical presentation.
Cosmetic earlobe surgery is performed under local anesthetic in a minor procedure room setting. Patients generally recover quickly following earlobe surgery. Over-the-counter pain medication may be required during early healing. There is no downtime from work or school. It is recommended to refrain from strenuous exercise over a week or so following surgery to lower risk of bleeding and wound healing complications. Patients will receive detailed instructions regarding appropriate wound care and showering instructions following cosmetic earlobe surgery. Stitches are removed one week post-operatively. It is generally recommended to delay earlobe re-piercing until a few months post-operatively as healing progresses and scar tissue gains more strength.
Please contact us if considering cosmetic earlobe surgery in the Toronto area to schedule a consultation with Dr. Stephanie Power.