Ear Pinning and Split Earlobe Repair
Prominent ears and split earlobes are easily corrected with minimally invasive surgical procedures that can be performed with local anesthesia. This article outlines some of the basic information for these two procedures
Tired of having dumbo ears? Have you worn heavy earrings and now
have torn earlobes? All of these conditions can be easily
corrected with simple cosmetic procedures to repair the defects.
In patients with prominent ears, an otoplasty, or ear pinning,
procedure can be performed to set the ears closer to the head.
In patients with split earlobes either due to trauma or long term
use of earrings, earlobe repair can be undertaken in an office
Patients who are born with prominent ears often have a
malformation of the cartilage which provides the support of the
ear. This is often corrected by making an incision behind the ear,
elevating the skin from the cartilage, and then taking a suture
and suturing the ear into a more natural appearance. At times,
some of the cartilage will need to be removed but this can be
done through the same incision. The sutures used will be permanent
and do have the possibility of breaking at some point in the life
of the patient. If this should happen and the ear become prominent
again, the procedure can be repeated.
In older patients, the procedure can be done using local
anesthesia. The procedure can be performed in children in early
elementary school though general anesthesia is often necessary as
these children will not be able to cooperate with the procedure.
The patient is usually expected to wear a compressive headband
dressing for a time period and usually a light headband for an
additional time. The exact postoperative course is surgeon
dependent but care should be taken to ensure that the ears are
allowed to heal before returning to contact sports, wearing
helmets, or even wearing glasses.
Torn earlobes can be the result of trauma or possibly prolonged
wearing of heavy earrings. Once the earlobe is torn, one of several
procedures can be undertaken to repair the tear. The procedure
used will depend on the surgeonís preference and the desire of the
patient to wear earrings again.
The easiest procedure to performs is to simply close the tear.
This will work if the patient does not desire to wear earrings
again. If the patient wishes to wear earrings again, this is not a
good option because the repaired area will only reach a maximum
strength of 80% of the natural strength, creating a much weak area
for a new tear to form.
If the patient wishes to wear earrings again, either a z-plasty
or flap procedure is required to close the tear to allow for
adequate strength for another earring. Depending on the actual
technique used, the piercing may be left in place and a stud
replaced in the healing wound in as little as a weak. The surgeon
may opt to allow the wound to heal and undertake a new piercing in
6-8 weeks after maximal healing has occurred.
using only local anesthesia. There is virtually no downtime and
the patient can resume normal activities very quickly.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Verret is a facial plastic surgeon in Plano, TX. He specializes in cosmetic surgery of the face and neck. Visit him on the web at http://innovationsfps.com†or call for a consultation 972.608.0100.