Dr. Usha Rajagopal, plastic surgeon at the San Francisco Plastic Surgery and Laser Center, has seen an increase in patients who are seeking earlobe repair surgery. This is most likely related to the ear plug trend that has become more widepsread in the United States in recent years. Once the earlobe is stretched to a certain degree by large ear gauges, the area is damaged and the earlobe can not naturally return to its original size. When the jewelery is removed, an obvious hole remains in the earlobe. This can be a problem for people who no longer want their piercings.
Earlobe repair surgery can also be used for patients with earlobes that have stretched downwards due to years of wearing heavy, dangling earrings. Gravity and the weight of earrings can sometimes stretch and enlarge the earlobes of people with “regular” size ear piercings.
Otoplasty, also referred to as ear pinning, is another common surgical procedure performed on the ears. Using sutures, the ears are ”pinned back” to the head, making them less noticeable when the face is viewed from the front. Otoplasty is an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia. Scarring is mostly hidden behind the ear and/or by the folds of the ear.