Commonly known as plastic surgery of the ear, otoplasty can remedy damaged, sagging, or stretched earlobes. Time can be unkind to the ears. Aging robs soft tissue of its elasticity and environmental factors introduce abrasion and irritation to the mix. It all adds up to a pair of ears that show the weariness and wear of life lived at full volume.
If you want to turn down the noise and crank up the healing, you should consider an otoplasty procedure. Earlobes often go neglected or abused, but otoplasty can perk up your ears and lend a boost of youth and vitality to your overall look.
Before we dive into the ways in which otoplasty can benefit battered earlobes, let’s examine the root reasons for outer ear distress.
COMMON CAUSES OF DAMAGED EARLOBES
The most common factor that contributes to ear scarring and stress is having piercings. The art of adorning earlobes with jewelry dates back as far as ancient Egypt when bodies were mummified with earrings dangling from their aural protrusions.
While piercings can provide an edgy, stylish appearance, they can also leave a trail of tearing behind. Every time you get a new piercing, it can result in swelling, bleeding, and possible infection. The earlobe may require up to two weeks to recover from a piercing, but every individual reacts differently to the introduction of foreign objects to their system.
The damage done by a piercing is multiplied when the width of the item being thrust through the lobe increases. Earlobe stretching has become fashionable over the past few decades, but if the size of the opening is a 2-gauge or greater, it may not heal of its own accord. The stretched lobe might require surgical assistance to return to its former glory.
In addition to the sheer magnitude of a puncture wound, another factor that damages earlobes is the material of the jewelry. Nickel-plated earrings can cause a condition called contact dermatitis. This is an allergic reaction that the sensitive skin on the ears may have to certain metals.
Perfumes and skincare products can also elicit adverse reactions along the tender exterior of an earlobe. Over time, the more you irritate the skin, the harder it is for that skin to bounce back. Our bodies produce less collagen as we age, and collagen is the building block of tissue reparation and maintenance. Even if you could heal from a bad piercing with ease in your teenage years, that process becomes more harrowing in your 30s, 40s and beyond.
Vigorous activities can also damage the earlobes over time. Boxers experience a phenomenon known as “cauliflower” ears due to the repeated strikes they take to the side of their heads. The ears swell up and resemble the cauliflower after which this condition is named. Even seemingly gentler endeavors like swimming can interfere with ear health. Otitis externa, or swimmer’s ear, occurs when water gets trapped in the inner canal and flourishes into an infection. This infection can swell up and damage the tissue on the exterior of the earlobe.
OTOPLASTY: MUSIC TO THE EARS
In order to remedy the various assaults on the earlobe outlined above, a skilled surgeon can rectify the situation and contour the ears back to health. The procedure begins with a small incision hidden behind the ear. This allows your doctor to access the cartilage that forms the blueprint of your ear that lives just beneath the skin.
By reshaping the underlying cartilage, your surgeon creates a foundation of strength and solidity upon which your rejuvenated ear will triumph. Once the cartilage is repaired, the doctor works outward. Any excess or damaged skin can be removed to fit your taut, smooth new earlobe.
The epidermis is then sutured closed with a sense of precision and grace. You may be administered a local anesthetic or you may request general anesthesia to maximize your comfort level. The ultimate decision will be made in coordination between you and your physician, so please feel free to communicate your concerns during the consultation period.
The entire otoplasty procedure may only last one or two hours, but the results will shimmer for a lifetime. Your doctor will schedule a follow-up appointment to monitor your progress and remove any remaining sutures approximately one week after your surgery.
RECOVERY AND RESTORATION
Please arrange for a loved one to transport you to and from the clinic on the day of your procedure. No matter which level of anesthesia you require for your individual otoplasty treatment, you may not operate a vehicle for several hours following surgery.
When you depart the clinic after your otoplasty procedure, you will require a few days of downtime. Do not rush your recovery; your body will tell you when it is ready to resume your normal routine. If you have any questions, please contact your support staff and heed their advice.
After about a week, you may be able to resume light activity. In two weeks’ time, you should be able to get a more complete picture of how your new earlobes are taking shape. The swelling will continue to diminish as your vibrant new appearance emerges.
We spend far too much time overloading our senses in an attempt to flood our brains with stimuli. Loud music, brusque activity, and garnish piercings may seem cool during adolescence, but they can leave your earlobes singing the blues. To reclaim the youthful appearance that your ears once enjoyed, consider booking an appointment with Dr. Binder at your earliest convenience.