Help! My Earlobes Are Making Me Look Old!
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Earlobe reduction surgery has become increasingly popular over the years (thank you Kris Jenner). It may seem odd to think about, but our earlobes elongate as we age due to gravity, earrings, and the loss of skin elasticity. Despite your professional grade skin care, botox, and fillers, it is highly likely that your ears are giving away your age. Thankfully, there are numerous ways to rejuvenate the look of your earlobes in the office, with little to no downtime. The proper choice of technique depends on your unique anatomy, the existence of piercings, and your desire for “attached” or “unattached” earlobes. Here are a few of our surgeon’s favorite techniques: If you have a stretched piercing, we commonly like to repair the hole and reduce the size of your earlobes at the same time. This can easily done by removing a wedge of earlobe tissue that incorporates the stretched piercing. When the edges are put back together, you are left with an earlobe that is smaller and a piercing that has been surgically closed. After two months, the ear can easily be repierced in the office. This technique leaves a barely perceptible vertical scar in your earlobe where the stretched piercing used to be. Some people prefer to customize the shape of their earlobes by using the lateral edge approach. In this technique, we draw out an ideal earlobe contour on each ear with the goal of getting the ears to be as symmetrical as possible. Once numb, we remove the excess earlobe tissue and suture the wound edges back together. The main advantage of this technique is that the incision hides on the edge of the earlobe. Unfortunately, some notching can occur during the healing process, which may make the edge of the earlobe looked pinched in certain locations. As with any cosmetic surgery, the goal of ear lobe reduction is to improve the appearance of the ears while hiding the incisions where possible. That is why the Facial Plastic Surgeons at Chevy Chase Face, may choose to perform an innovative earlobe reduction technique where the incisions hide in two natural creases of the ear (sub-antitragal groove and pre-auricular crease). This ensures that your incisions are hidden while maintaining the natural curvature of your earlobe. This is an ideal technique for men or women who have never had their ears pierced and those that wish to conceal their incisions as much as possible. The only drawback is that there is a limit to which the earlobes can be reduced with this approach. Whatever technique is right for you, earlobe reduction can easily be done in the office under local anesthesia with next to zero discomfort or downtime. Our surgeons commonly perform this procedure on its own or at the same time as other facial rejuvenation surgeries. We prefer to utilize non-resorbable sutures that are removed in one week to minimize the appearance of scars and patients have absolutely no restrictions after a couple weeks of healing.
Being a guy does not make you immune to aging earlobes! In fact, the loss of elasticity is seen more in men than women. Whether your family has started to tug on your earlobes or you are simply bothered by the visual appearance of your ears, many men come to our office to discuss their treatment options. Men looking to reduce the size of their earlobes usually have one concern in common: they do not want other people to know they had their earlobes reduced. Since we usually are dealing with unpierced ears in men, we typically recommend the second or third option listed above (lateral edge or sub-antitragal groove technique). This allows for optimal concealment of incision lines while obtaining a more youthful earlobe shape.
In recent years, aesthetic practitioners have expanded the use of facial fillers to rejuvenate the earlobes. Just like other parts of the face, we lose volume in our earlobes as we age. Fillers can plump up deflated earlobes by providing some structural support to the soft tissue and skin. Fillers are useful in patients suffering from folding of the ear when wearing earrings or in those with slight stretching of their piercings. We typically use Juvéderm hyaluronic acid fillers that are fully reversible and last about a year in the earlobes. Since it does not take a lot of volume of filler to rejuvenate the earlobes, the rest can be used to improve your facial appearance during the same visit. Although fillers can help maintain the shape of your earlobe, they will not improve the earlobe that is elongated – in fact, the added weight and volume can make the appearance of the lobe look worse. Fillers can add rigidity to an otherwise floppy earlobe but will not shorten the appearance of the ear. In these cases, we look to minor surgical procedures that can be performed with ease to produce natural and lasting results.
Our surgeons can customize your surgical approach to make your earlobes attached or detached if that is your aesthetic goal. By making slight alterations to the surgical techniques listed above, you can switch from one to the other. We always discuss the pros and cons of these options since they can involve making additional incisions below your earlobe that may be more visible initially. This may also be an option for those patients who previously underwent face or neck lift surgery, where their earlobe shape was distorted or stretched. As always, our surgeons aim to give you all the information so you can make an informed decision and obtain the earlobes of your dreams. Contact our practice today to learn more or schedule your consultation for earlobe reduction surgery at (301) 652-8191.