When earrings get snagged in clothing, pulled accidentally, or even yanked by a small child, the result can be a torn earlobe. Some people call this a “Pacman” deformity. Earlobes and earring holes can also become stretched over time from heavy jewelry or gauge earrings. If you are not satisfied with the appearance of your earlobes, or you have damage that makes it difficult to wear the jewelry you love, make an appointment with Fox Valley Plastic Surgery to find out more about earlobe repair.
Earlobe surgery or repair is a reconstructive plastic surgery procedure performed to restore the appearance of earlobes that have been torn or stretched due to ear tearing, trauma or piercing, including the insertion of ear gauges.
Without an earring, a stretched earlobe will shrink, but never look normal again without surgery. Patients should wait until the ear finishes shrinking on its own before considering surgery. Earlobe repair can also close normal ear piercings, when a patient no longer desires a piercing.
Dr. David Janssen and Dr. William Doubek can expertly repair your earlobes. The Wisconsin plastic surgeons are helping women and men from places such as Green Bay, Appleton, Fond du Lac, and Sheboygan perfect their personal Renaissance. Contact Fox Valley Plastic Surgery at (920) 233-1540 to request your consultation in either the Oshkosh or Appleton office. There is a non-refundable $100 cosmetic consultation fee.
Earlobe surgery is considered a cosmetic procedure, and is not covered by insurance. Earlobe repair generally costs $550 per earlobe or $800 for both earlobes. More complex repairs, such as required to close gauge holes may cost up to $2000 depending on the complexity. The patient’s desire to re-pierce or re-gauge the ear in the future also affects the technique used to reconstruct the lobe.
The use of Strataderm® immediately after wound closure and for several weeks afterwards, is highly recommended for optimal healing. Stratamed is the first film-forming silicone gel-based wound dressing approved for the use on open wounds and compromised skin. Depending on the length of the incision, a tube of Strataderm® costs $32-$54.
Depending on a patient’s circumstances, torn earlobe repair can be performed immediately following an injury or delayed until the wound is healed and the tissue is no longer inflamed. The specific method of repair will depend on how much tissue was lost and the nature of the injury. A variety of different techniques can be performed to close the wound, redistribute tissue, and reshape the ear to match the natural ear shape. Small flaps are sometimes used to redesign the earlobe. Absorbable sutures can also be used. The board certified plastic surgeons at Fox Valley Plastic Surgery employ specialized suturing techniques to minimize scar formation. Torn ear lobe surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure in the office using a local anesthetic.
The process for closing normal ear piercings is the same as the one used for repairing “stretched out” holes. Under local anesthesia, skin is removed from around the hole, and the hole is stitched closed. Correction is made by removing the tunnel, and adding a single stitch front and back if the defect is very small. Any re-piercing of the earlobe needs to be in a slightly different location to avoid the denseness of the scar tissue.
After the anesthetic wears off, there may be mild pain for a day or two. Acetaminophen is effective for any mild discomfort. In most cases, the only dressing needed is a thin layer of antibiotic ointment. Patients can return to work immediately following the procedure. Patients will need to keep the sutured area clean to reduce the potential for infection. The stitches are usually removed in a week. If dissolvable sutures are placed, no suture removal is necessary.
Patients can safely pierce their ears again 2 to 6 months after repair. If bothersome keloid scars form within the new piercings, they can be treated by injection or surgical excision.
When earlobe surgery is performed by a qualified, experienced surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. Nevertheless, as with any procedure, there are risks associated with torn earlobe repair, including the risk of infection. Such infections are usually treated with antibiotics; rarely, surgery may be required to drain the infected area.
Dr. David Janssen and Dr. William Doubek combine experience, refined surgical techniques, and artistry to produce beautiful results for their plastic and reconstructive surgery patients.
Find out more about earlobe surgery with Dr. David Janssen and Dr. William Doubek. The Wisconsin board certified plastic surgeons are helping men, women and children from places such as Green Bay, Sheboygan, Appleton, Neenah, Oshkosh, and Fond du Lac perfect their personal Renaissance. Contact Fox Valley Plastic Surgery at (920) 233-1540 or request your consultation.