Earlobe Rejuvenation…. What’s new?
David T. Harvey, MD Mohs Surgeon & Cosmetic Dermatologist
When discussing earlobe rejuvenation, we must first acknowledge that the earlobes are an important aesthetic feature of the face. Over time, they can tear, hyperpigment and suffer from repeated sun exposure. As one ages, the earlobes elongate, which is cosmetically unattractive. Thankfully we do have some newer options to help keep earlobes looking attractive and youthful. The following will review some new and trendy procedures which are finding favor with our patients in the Atlanta market.
The earlobe lift procedure involves making a small incision where the actual earlobe conjoins with the lateral cheek. A small incision is placed in the natural “pre-ear” crease and a small amount of redundant earlobe skin is removed. Two or three small deep sutures are placed to reconfigure the angle of the earlobe with the final result being a much smaller and better angled earlobe.
Several wonderful new fillers such as Juvederm™, Restylane™, Belotero™ (and soon Voluma™) are available to help reduce the wrinkled appearance of the lobe and will add a natural appearing lift. These agents are comprised of a naturally occurring protein sugar referred to as hyaluronic acid. By specifically injecting this filler into areas of elastic tissue loss, a fuller, plumper and more natural appearing earlobe is created.
Another option for earlobe rejuvenation is using low energy fractional CO2 lasers and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) devices to help revitalize damaged earlobe skin. They work by targeting skin pigment, blood vessels and collagen. Lasers can be combined with fillers and/or lifting procedures to achieve a more youthful appearing lobe.
WHAT IS THE REPAIR PROCESS FOR TORN EARLOBES?
In some earlobes, the piercing site can enlarge with time. Depending on the deformity, reconstruction can take different forms. In all methods, the skin lining the tear is removed and the new freshened wound is sutured as a fine line. In repairing the earlobe, dissolving sutures are utilized. After a few months of healing, the ear can be pierced again, if so desired.
HOW LONG DOES A TYPICAL EARLOBE REPAIR PROCEDURE TAKE?
The procedure takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes depending on the complexity of the repair.
HOW MUCH DISCOMFORT IS THERE AND WHAT IS THE DOWNTIME?
There is minimal if any discomfort with any of these treatments. Topical or local anesthesia is all that is used. Swelling and redness quickly disappear within a matter of days. Plan on a 2 to 7 day healing time depending on the type of procedure performed. We ask that our patients avoid wearing earrings for 6 to 8 weeks to allow for optimal healing.
WHAT ABOUT THE POST OP CARE?
It is important to keep the incision site dry for 48 hours and to use a topical ointment such as Vaseline or Aquaphor™ as directed and of course, avoid excessive sun exposure for at least a few weeks.