Plastic surgery is a branch of surgery that focuses on repairing or reconstructing specific parts of the body due to loss, injury, or cosmetic reasons. One specific surgery that can be performed is ear lobe repair. If you are looking for Dallas Texas plastic surgeons who can repair your earlobe(s), you should first become familiar with the procedure itself.
Not to be confused with ear surgery, or otoplasty, ear lobe repair surgery can fix ear lobes that are misshapen or have been stretched or torn due to piercings. This surgery typically involves techniques that strengthen the ear lobe to prevent future tears or stretching.
The ear lobe has a higher likelihood of tearing or stretching than other parts of the ear because it is made of skin and fat, while other parts of the ear are comprised of thick, tough cartilage. There are various reasons that may cause the ear lobe to tear. For example, if a heavy earring continuously pulls on the original piercing hole, the ear lobe can stretch.
Also, if an earring gets caught on clothing or if a child accidentally pulls on an earring, an ear lobe can rip or stretch. Sometimes, if an ear lobe is pierced too high or low to start with, a small tear could split the lobe down the middle. Some tears can heal themselves over time, but often, visible scars appear which can create difficulty for piercing again or wearing earrings. Either way, ear lobe repair surgery can improve ear lobe appearance to allow an individual to feel comfortable wearing earrings again or just simply for aesthetic appearance.
Ear lobe repair is not a major surgery, therefore the actual procedure isn’t time intensive and is done with local anesthesia. Obviously, the duration of the surgery will depend on the amount of reconstruction that needs to be done. Ear lobe repair can fix issues such as sagging ear lobes or ear lobes that have lost their volume, hereditary abnormalities, sagging or tearing resulting from heavy jewelry, and tearing caused by injuries.
If an ear lobe is fully split due to injury or tearing, the surgeon will suture both sides of the lobe back together. The damaged ear piercing tract has to be removed and the layers of skin, as well as the fatty tissue in between, all have to be put back together. The surgeon may use a zig-zag pattern to close the wound, which is a helpful method of preventing future tears. This surgery cannot be performed until the wound has completely healed. Ear lobe tears that do not reach the bottom of the lobe can be fixed, and the lobe can potentially be re-pierced again the same day. In some cases, the patient may receive a spacer or stitch that is a placeholder for future jewelry. With these spacers, it is possible for the patient to wear light jewelry after six weeks, but a surgeon will suggest not wearing heavy earrings until about two months post-surgery.
Following the procedure, it is possible that the patient may experience some initial discomfort, but like other surgeries, it can be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication. Your surgeon will let you know what OTC medications are acceptable to take. To prevent infection, your surgeon will instruct you to apply an antibiotic ointment to the ear lobe, but most likely, no surgical dressing will be needed.
Once the swelling has decreased, the stitches will be removed. Since ear lobe repair is minor surgery, there are minimal risks involved. The only main risk is the possibility of infection, but if the surgical site is well taken care of, this should not be an issue. Depending on how many ears require surgery and what kind of surgery is needed will determine the cost. Be sure to ask exactly how much the procedure is going to cost because most insurance companies will not cover a surgical procedure done for cosmetic purposes.
After doing some basic research, the first step is to schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon that has experience with ear lobe repair. The surgeon can examine the tear or ear lobe, assess the situation, and determine whether or not you are a good candidate for the procedure. The surgeon will inform you about the procedure that will be the best method for restoration or aesthetic improvement. This will depend on whether you need ear lobe repair, ear gauge surgery, or ear lobe reduction. Be sure to come prepared with questions to ask your surgeon about the surgery or post-operative recovery and care so that you can be as prepared and as comfortable as possible for the operation.