While facial features such as the eyes and nose often get the most attention in regard to our appearance, the ears can also have a significant impact, sometimes creating cosmetic concerns that affect even our self-confidence and esteem. Fortunately, there are a number of aesthetic procedures that can improve the look of protruding, misshapen, and/or prominent ears—as well as earlobes that are stretched, torn, and/or irregularly formed.
With over two decades of experience, Austin plastic surgeon Steven Holzman, MD can customize otoplasty or cosmetic earlobe repair to help you (or your child) meet your ultimate goals with natural-looking results. To learn more about these techniques, please follow the links below, or simply contact our practice today to schedule a consultation.
Otoplasty (Ear Pinning)
Otoplasty, also referred to as ear pinning surgery, is an aesthetic procedure that can alter the position, shape, and size of the ears, making them appear more proportional, suitably positioned, and far less noticeable. This treatment is especially common among children and adolescents who feel sensitive and/or self-conscious about the look of their ears during their most impressionable years, though many adults undergo otoplasty each year for similar reasons. Depending on your (or your child’s) specific needs and goals, Dr. Holzman can perform otoplasty on one or both ears, ultimately leading to an improved appearance and a boost in self-esteem.
How Is the Otoplasty Procedure Performed?
During the otoplasty procedure, fatty deposits and cartilage structures that cause the appearance of oversized or irregularly formed ears are eliminated or sculpted through a small incision along the outside edge of the ear. If needed, the ears can then be pinned back and secured at an optimal angle of protrusion via sutures. Any residual scarring from the procedure is typically well-hidden and virtually undetectable.
Depending on the complexity of surgery, otoplasty is performed using either local or general anesthesia, typically taking approximately one hour to complete. Following treatment, most patients are able to return home under the care and supervision of a loved one later the same day.
What Is Recovery from Otoplasty Like?
Immediately after otoplasty, a head wrap is usually placed and is to be worn for a few days. This wrap is then typically replaced with a special headband that will need to be worn periodically (as directed by Dr. Holzman) over the next few days to help protect the ears and aid with healing. Significant pain is rare, though any degree of discomfort potentially experienced can generally be managed with medication. Most normal, non-strenuous daily routines—including school—can often be resumed after about five to seven days, but sports, vigorous exercise, and other physical activities will need to be avoided for at least a few weeks.
Cosmetic Earlobe Repair
Cosmetic earlobe repair can improve the appearance of earlobes that are irregularly formed or have been stretched or torn. Using a few simple surgical techniques, Dr. Holzman is able to restore a more natural shape to damaged earlobes. It is also possible to alter the shape of lobes to make them more aesthetically pleasing.
“Dr. Holzman did an excellent job repairing my ripped earlobe. The procedure was the best price out of 6 others plastic surgeons I called. He was very friendly and professional.”
How Do Earlobes Become Misshapen?
While the exact reason(s) for misshapen earlobes is unique to every individual, the following are some of the most common causes:
- Heavy or Oversized Earrings – Over time, wearing heavy or oversized earrings can cause the earlobes to thin and stretch downwards due to gravity. This may create the appearance of a vertical slit or opening. In some cases, the earring hole may elongate until the earlobe is torn into two pieces. Each of these issues requires surgical treatment to restore an optimal appearance.
- Earring Catching or Pulling – Sometimes an earring becomes caught or is pulled by children, creating a cut in the earlobe. This earlobe rupture typically requires repair outside of natural processes for proper healing.
- Earlobe Gauges – Earlobe stretching or “gauging” has been popular over the last 10-plus years. To do this, a normally pierced ear is progressively stretched to accommodate a metal plug or decorative object. When wearers choose to stop wearing the gauge, the resulting hole is not always desired and must be surgically repaired.
- Aging – The natural process of aging decreases the volume of fat in the earlobes, making the lobes wrinkled and floppy. An improved, more youthful appearance can often be restored with earlobe repair.
How Is Earlobe Repair Performed?
Earlobe repair for a stretched or torn piercing begins with surgical removal of the scar tissue around the piercing hole. The edges are then pulled together with carefully placed sutures to create a more natural shape. This procedure is usually accomplished with local anesthesia and typically has a short recovery period. The area may be re-pierced in approximately six weeks.
Correcting stretched earlobes from aging may require removal of excess skin. The ear is then sutured to maintain its new shape and position. Dermal fillers may also be used to replace volume to the earlobe, giving it a rejuvenated appearance. Recovery is generally quick, with most patients resuming normal activities within a few days.
Schedule a Consultation
If you have any additional questions about ear surgery, or if you are interested in treatment for yourself or a loved one, please contact us today to schedule a private consultation with Dr. Holzman. We are happy to help you address your aesthetic concerns and achieve your goals!