Earlobes are under-appreciated parts of our faces. We tend to take them for granted until they start to bother us. Many patients come to me after they have a problem with a pierced earlobe – the piercing can become stretched out with time or damaged in an accident with a pet or a small child. Earlobe repair in these situations is straight-forward, but earlobes can also be improved in many more ways! Today we explore possibilities to improve the appearance of your earlobes.
Earlobe piercings can be stretched out with time. Heavy earrings can stretch out the piercing such that smaller earrings like studs simply fall out. Earlobes can also become torn if an earring hooks on your clothing or is pulled forcefully by a pet or a small child. For stretched out piercings, we simply excise the old hole, let it heal, and then re-pierce the earlobe after about a month. If you have gauges in your ear lobes, these can be repaired as well. For repairing torn earlobes, the damaged tissue is removed and the healthy parts of the lobe are carefully sewn together to create a strong, lasting repair.
Six weeks after repair
Stretched piercing after repair.
The cartilaginous parts of your face, namely the ears and the nose, continue to slowly grow through our lives. Think about it- I’m sure you’ve seen men in their 80’s and 90’s with really big ears. While it’s a bit tricky (but not impossible) to make the whole ear smaller, earlobes can easily be made smaller. Earlobes may also appear larger than normal because of keloids. Keloids are balls of scar tissue that can occur following a piercing. Keloids deserve special attention and we will discuss them elsewhere.
Some women’s earlobes can actually shrink with the onset of menopause. Nice, plump earlobes are a sign of youth and look better with certain kinds of earrings. To make earlobes larger, we use small amounts of a hyaluronic acid based filler such as Restylane®. We usually don’t need to use an entire vial on the earlobes, so we can use the rest to minimize the appearance of facial lines if these are of concern.
An atrophic earlobe
The same patient after filler in the opposite earlobe.
Did you know that we are genetically programmed to either have attached or unattached earlobes? Here are examples of both:
While this is a subtle cosmetic difference, it can make a bit difference if you want to wear chunky earrings. Having your earlobe attached will help to support the weight of a heavy earring. Attaching an earlobe is simple and we allow use of earrings about six weeks after surgery.
Whether you just want your earrings to fit better or you are concerned about the size and shape of your earlobes, cosmetic changes to your earlobe are quite simple. All of the procedures discussed here are performed in the office with local anesthesia. If a piercing is affected, we always offer complimentary re-piercing.