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Earlobe Repair


earlobe-bnaEarlobes can become “split” after an earring is torn from the earlobe (usually by a child or a pet) and the area heals on its own. Split earlobes can be surgically reconstructed to reconstruct a normal appearing earlobe and enable earrings to be worn again. The site of past piercing can be removed altogether during the repair, or a small hole that enables continued wearing of earrings can be preserved.

Torn earlobe repair takes approximately an hour to perform and is done under local anesthesia in our office. We recommend you bring lightweight, hypoallergenic (gold, silver or surgical steel) small hoop earrings with you to the office; these will be inserted at the time of surgery and should be worn continuously for approximately six weeks postoperatively. Stitches are removed in 10-14 days, and heavy earrings should be avoided to avoid stretching of the earlobe and to preserve the best aesthetic result.

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The ears are continually exposed to the sun and can develop “photo-aging” like other parts of the body, and earlobes lose collagen and elastin like other regions. Surgical “rejuvenation” of the earlobes can correct elongated and stretched-out earlobes or past piercing holes that have assumed a more oblong or vertical shape, forming a permanent crease in the earlobe than can accentuate one’s age.

Like torn earlobe repair, earlobe rejuvenation is done in the office as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia and takes approximately an hour to perform. Drooping or malpositioned earlobes are “lifted” by making tiny incisions hidden in the natural fold behind the ear. Occasionally, the area of previous piercing is so low on the earlobe that the old piercing hole is obliterated altogether, the earlobe is reconstructed, and a new piercing is performed in a higher and more aesthetic location. Earlobe rejuvenation surgery can make the lobule look plumper, more rounded and smaller, often appearing younger.

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A “LIQUID” Earlobe lift is also possible. Injectable fillers can be used to help plump up saggy or deflated earlobes, fill in permanent creases that form with loss of collagen and elastin, and can smooth out the earlobe skin to help create a younger look to the ears. For women who wear earrings and whose piercing hole has stretched, injection of dermal fillers can possibly help make the hole smaller.

As opposed to injection of fillers in the face where “animation” (muscle movement) occurs regularly, fillers injected the earlobe could potentially last up to twice as long because the area does not move as much and the substance is more slowly degraded over time. Lastly, it is also possible to have a CHEMICAL PEEL on the earlobe to help improve the skin’s appearance in this region, in addition to the face, neck and décolletage.

So whether you are happy having cosmetic surgery or not, there is now no excuse for having aged earlobes!

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Torn Earlobe repair is a minor procedure with very little downtime. Exercise should be avoided for approximately two weeks. Showering can resume the day after surgery, and stitches are removed 7-10 days after surgery. After Earlobe Rejuvenation, restrictions are the same as for earlobe repair.

During recovery from any type of ear surgery, patients may experience temporary discomfort that is managed with oral pain medications. Mild headache, swelling, bruising and numbness should subside in a few days. Any sutures that do not dissolve on their own will be painlessly removed in the office within a week or two. Antibiotic ointment should be applied twice daily for approximately a week after surgery. Please see our postoperative instructions section and special instructions for facial surgery for additional information pertaining to recovery from ear correction surgery.

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When you are considering any type of surgery, you should be fully educated about potential risks and complications. Please see our Preparing for Surgery section to learn about general risks and potential complications, special considerations for facial plastic surgery, and our section on postoperative instructions for additional information pertaining specifically to ear surgery.

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As a female Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Horton intimately understands how an individual’s looks and their feelings about their appearance can influence self-image and self-esteem. At your ear correction consultation, your she will spend a great deal of time with you to get to know you personally and take a complete medical history. Dr. Karen Horton will explore in detail your reasons for seeking ear correction surgery, and if you are an appropriate candidate for surgery, your options will be described in detail.

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*Individual Results May Vary

Dr. Karen M. Horton, M.D. - Plastic Surgery, Physicians & Surgeons - Medical-M.D., San Francisco, CA