Last month, numerous news outlets reported on the growing demand for earlobe reconstruction across the nation. This is a trend that Dr. Jennifer Parker Porter of Chevy Chase Facial Plastic Surgery has observed at her own practice.
Earlobe reconstruction is performed to restore a normal appearance to misshapen or otherwise deformed earlobes. It is common for women who have torn their lobes wearing heavy earrings.
However, the rise in individuals seeking earlobe reconstruction is partially attributable to the ear gauging trend that has been popular in recent years, especially among youths. Ear gauges, or “tribal” ear piercings, produce a substantial hole — big enough to see through (some would even describe the holes as “gaping”). The most common method of ear gauging is to gradually stretch out the hole using progressively larger piercings; although the alternative is dermal punching, which creates an instant gap in a technique similar to a hole punch.
Unfortunately, once the earlobe holes are stretched past a half-inch in diameter, they will not close up or shrink back to their normal size. The hole is considered to be permanent. At that point, the only solution to restore normal appearance to the earlobes is surgical repair.
More about the Procedure
Earlobe reconstruction is typically a quick outpatient procedure performed with local anesthesia. It does not require a significant recovery period or cause excessive post-operative scarring.
Dr. Porter will remove the excess stretched tissue and skin, restore the earlobe to a more normal shape and use stitches to secure the lobe. The ear heals quickly and usually can withstand a new piercing two to three months after surgery (gauges are obviously discouraged). The scar is typically concealed along the natural contour of the earlobe.
Dr. Porter’s earlobe reconstruction patients have unique motivations for seeking surgery. Certain individuals want to look more professional while applying for jobs, or being considered for promotions (many companies are leery of hiring candidates with extreme body modifications). Others need to clean up their appearance for the military, which enforces strict guidelines for earlobe holes. Some simply do not like the look of torn or stretched out lobes, or are embarrassed by the negative attention their earlobes have attracted.
Contact Our Practice
If you have torn or stretched earlobes and want to learn more about the reconstructive procedure, please schedule an informational consultation with Dr. Jennifer Porter. Contact Chevy Chase Facial Plastic Surgery by calling (301) 652-8191.