A lot of people tear their earlobes because their earrings are too heavy or hang too low. These tears can go completely through your earlobe and cause split earlobes, or they can only go partway, stretching out the earlobes and causing droopy earrings.
Every body part, including the ears, changes as a person ages, but a little nip and tuck can help get them back in shape, says Dr. Leena Jain, a well-known plastic surgeon in Borivali. Most repairs are easy and inexpensive, which is good news.
Lobuloplasty simply means earlobe repair or reconstruction surgery, a surgical procedure to fix an enlarged or torn earlobe.
Read on to understand more about earlobe and ear lobule repair.
The earlobe is a part of your facial structure with strong cultural and aesthetic significance. It is especially important because, in many regions of the world, males and females get it pierced so they can wear earrings. Round long ear lobes are a sign of prosperity.
Our earlobe is made up of skin and fat. It does not have thick cartilage like the remaining portion of the ear. So, it is easy to pierce and make a hole in an earlobe. Where the earlobe is pierced, that part becomes the weakest part and all tears go through it rendering it unsightly to wear earrings. Once the hole is elongated it does not go back to its original shape.
What are the different problems that can occur to the ear lobe?
- Earlobe hole elongation: occurs due to damage caused by heavy earrings or other jewellery. Sometimes it is because someone (usually a child) pulls on the earlobe or earring.
- Ear lobe injury: In rare cases, the damage may be caused by your earring getting stuck in some material, like a curtain or dress causing single or multiple cuts to the ear lobe and distorting it.
- Ear lobe loss: bite injuries are also not unusual as in fights where the ear lobe maybe bitten off causing partial or complete loss of ear lobe.
- Ear lobe clefts: this is a congenital issue (deformity present from birth), wherein there is a split of the ear lobe called a cleft of ear lobe and lobe is smaller than the normal side. This may affect one or both the ear lobes.
If you or a loved one has a damaged earlobe, please visit the highly-skilled plastic surgeon in Mumbai, Dr. Leena Jain, to fix the ruptured part and restore its previous appearance.
What are the ear lobe surgeries?
A. Ear lobe repair or Auroplasty
An earlobe repair may be required in 2 scenarios:
a.Partial ear lobe split
Ear lobe hole elongation repair in young females: recurrence of elongation of the hole after an initial repair is quite common; more so in younger females once they get back to wearing heavy earrings. In the age group ear lobe repair is done with a cartilage graft taken from back of the ear to provide strength to the repair. A small round disc of cartilage of 5-8mm is taken and inserted between the two layers of ear lobe thought the elongated hole/split. Then the split ends are sutured in front and behind covering the cartilage and repairing the split.
A future piercing is done through the cartilage as cartilage will not elongate like skin with heavy earrings and the chance of recurrence is minimised. Ear lobe repair in elderly: here the split ear lobe is sutured in front and behind after making the edges raw. Patients are instructed to wear only small and light earrings after three months.
b. Complete earlobe split: Complete split is usually on one side and is caused due to accidental direct local trauma, like pulling your earrings out or earring getting stuck in clothing or curtain. Here ear lobe is repaired ensuring the lower border is reconstructed well giving the lobe a rounded appearance. Often these earlobe tears are fixed with surgery that uses a vasoconstrictor and local anaesthesia. Doctors use sutures to repair splits in the earlobe. This process can take up to an hour or so.
Dr. Leena Jain advises her patients that the sutures have to stay in place for a week, after which the accomplished plastic surgeon in Borivali, Mumbai, takes them out at a follow-up appointment if required.
B. Ear lobe reconstruction:
This procedure is required when lobe needs to be reconstructed following partial or complete loss of lobe or in a cleft of ear lobe. Here, using tissue of the neck below ear, lobe is reconstructed so that it matches in shape and size with the normal side. The new ear lobe can be pierced after 6-8 weeks.
Ear lobe reconstruction is also required in microtia surgery where the ear is completely absent by birth. Post burns of face and neck, when ear lobes get distorted, they need to be reconstructed.
C. Ear lobe reduction:
Most of the time, droopy earlobes are a sign of getting older, and by making the earlobes smaller, you can achieve a much younger look. In patients suffering from leprosy, ear lobes become enlarged and called mega lobes. These can be reduced in size by a simple surgery.
Recovery post lobuloplasty or ear repair surgery
- Most ear lobe procedures are done a day care surgeries.
- Antibiotics are given for 5-7 days.
- A water proof dressing is applied after ear lobe surgery, so bathing is not an issue.
- Suture removal is done in 7-10 days.
- Ear lobe piercing is done only after 3 months to maximise strength of repair and minimise chance of recurrence of elongation.
- Follow up is required for scar assessment and future piercing.
Our ear is the organ that helps us hear and keep our balance. Its unique shape allows it to take in sound waves and change them into sounds we can understand. We also often tuck our hair behind our ears, making our earlobes visible and a place to adorn a sparkling diamond!
Although your earlobes do not serve any essential biological purpose, the fact that they do not have any cartilage increases blood supply in that area which may help keep your ears warm. Furthermore, our earlobes play an important part in making us look attractive, as their softness allows us to wear beautifying pieces of jewellery. And this very softness makes them vulnerable to damage or tear. If you have torn your earlobe, do not worry.
Please visit Dr. Leena Jain, an eminent reconstructive microsurgeon in Mumbai, for safe and effective ear repair surgery.