People can sometimes develop a self-consciousness about the appearance of parts of their bodies, and this includes their earlobes. The side effects from the overuse of heavy earrings, an unexpected trauma, or the deliberate alteration of the earlobe can distort the appearance of the earlobe so that it detracts attention from a person’s face. They may find themselves subject to preconceived stigmas and discriminatory behavior. Because of the specific ailment or condition of their earlobes and the regret or insecurity associated with it, they may begin to consider undergoing a surgical procedure that can make their earlobes more aesthetically appealing.
The earlobe is one of the more delicate parts of the body, consisting of only skin and fatty tissue. It tends to be more susceptible to damage than the other parts of the ear, which contains durable cartilage. Some of the more common earlobe conditions that have to be corrected include tears and overstretching or sagging. Regardless of the how the earlobe was damaged or deformed, earlobe surgery can repair the lobe.
The earlobe can be gradually torn by the constant weight of heavy jewelry. If an item of jewelry is caught on an article of clothing or is abruptly yanked while attached to the earlobe, the tear can be instantaneous. The tears could range from a simple tear that stretches the original ear piercing site to tears that the run through the bottom of the ear, resulting in a split earlobe. As the earlobe attempts to heal itself, excessive scarring such as keloids can develop on or around the tear sites.
Intentional stretching of the earlobe can also cause permanent sagging or stretched lobes. A common method of earlobe stretching involves a type of body modification referred to as gauging, which consists of using a series of increasingly large gauges until the desired size can fit into the earlobe.
A Brief Note Regarding Earlobe Surgery or Repair
There is a distinction to be made between ear surgery, also known as otoplasty, and earlobe repair. Otoplasty is a broad term that encompasses the types of surgeries that can improve the proportion, shape, and position of the ear. Earlobe surgery, on the other hand, is a reconstructive cosmetic surgery that concentrates solely on repairing damage to the earlobe.
What Happens During Earlobe Surgery
Earlobe surgery is an outpatient procedure that can usually be completed in about an hour. The extent of damage of the earlobe will determine how long the surgery lasts and the type of anesthesia used. Due to how the earlobe has to be repaired, almost all earlobe surgeries will result in a smaller earlobe.
For earlobes that have only been partially split, a repair can be performed on the lobe immediately. The plastic surgeon will remove the skin surrounding the tear as well as the excess tissue, including any unseemly scars. Once the tear has been cleared of all obstructions, the lobe will then be sutured back together.
If the surgery involves the repair of an earlobe that has been completely split, the plastic surgeon will connect the two sides of the lobe by first removing the damaged or torn portion of the lobe, then he or she will use sutures to join the inner and outer layers of the skin and the fatty tissue between them. Only when this wound is fully healed can the repair surgery be performed.
In the case of earlobes that sag from having been stretched, a common method of repair is to begin by removing the stretched area. Once the stretched skin is removed, the earlobe will be sutured together internally and externally in order to form a natural-looking shape.
The Risks of Earlobe Surgery
Only a qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon should perform cosmetic surgery. However, as with all types of surgical procedures, even with the most qualified surgeon, there are risks involved with earlobe surgery:
• Allergies to the anesthesia, glue, suture materials, and tape used during or after the surgery is possible.
• Infection of the earlobe is probable, but can be treated with either antibiotics, or, if the infection is particularly extreme, the infected area can be drained in a subsequent procedure.
• Unfavorable or noticeable scarring may occur.
The Cost of Earlobe Surgery
The cost of earlobe surgery will vary based on a number of factors including the plastic surgeon’s expertise, geographic location, and the extent of the repair required for the earlobe. Earlobe surgery costs range from $400 to $1500. The costs associated with most cosmetic surgery are seldom covered by insurance, but an insurance company may cover the cost if the earlobe was damaged as a result of an accident. If not, a finance plan may be discussed with the surgeon. Surgery costs include
• surgical facility costs,
• plastic surgeon’s fee,
• anesthesia fees,
• medication prescriptions,
• medical tests.
The reasons individuals chooses to undergo cosmetic surgeries are uniquely their own. The perceptions of beauty vary, as does the ideas of successful end-results of cosmetic surgery. A consultation should be scheduled with a qualified plastic surgeon for a more comprehensive and personalized assessment of the benefits of earlobe surgery.
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