Stretching the earlobes isn’t necessarily a new practice, but doing it to make a fashion statement has only been popular for the last decade or two. This process utilizes plastic gauges that get progressively larger as the skin of the earlobe continues to stretch. Unfortunately, the skin does not stretch back once it gets to a particular diameter, leaving the individual with a counter-cultural look that doesn’t always fit with future personal or professional plans. When the gauged look is no longer desirable, surgical earlobe repair is a viable solution.
What is Surgical Earlobe Repair?
Surgical earlobe repair is a procedure that returns gauged ears or ears that have suffered some other type of damage to as close to their original state as possible. Depending on the extent of the stretching or damage, earlobe repair can become a somewhat complex procedure. For this reason, it is important to choose a plastic surgeon experienced in earlobe repair surgery to ensure the best possible result from your own procedure.
Allowing Nature to Take its Course
In most cases, patients seeking repair for gauged earlobes are advised to remove the gauges and wait up to 12 weeks before moving forward with surgery. This gives the lobe time to shrink as much as possible. Patients with a minor amount of stretching may find that time is all it takes to restore a normal appearance to the ear. Those with more significant stretching will likely still need surgical repair at the end of the waiting period. However, the surgery is likely to be more successful if at least some shrinkage is allowed prior to the procedure.
About the Procedure
Dr. Cole usually performs earlobe repair using local anesthesia. Typically, the lobe is split into two before it is sewn back together. Earlobe repair commonly takes about two hours to complete. However, less complicated procedures may take less time, while more complex surgery may take a little longer. The patient is completely comfortable throughout the procedure and is usually allowed to drive home after as long as no type of sedation was used for the surgery.
Recovery and Results
There is no real downtime after earlobe repair; most patients are back to regular activities within a few hours or the day after surgery. The stitches placed in the lobe will be removed approximately 5-7 days after the procedure. You will need to keep the sutures clean until they are removed to ensure the best possible healing of the incision. You should expect to have a scar running across the earlobe after the repair was made. However, this scar will fade considerably over time until it is nearly undetectable.
Earlobe repair is considered a permanent method of restoring the appearance of the lower ear. Patients that undergo the procedure are advised not to stretch the earlobe again, although piercing is usually allowed once the ear heals completely.
Dr. Cole performs many earlobe repairs at his Washington office, which is indicative of the large number of patients that are increasingly seeking this service today. If you are one of those patients that would like to restore the original appearance of the ear, contact Cole Aesthetic Center today at 360.613.2600 to find out if earlobe repair is the right choice for you.