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Dr. Barry Eppley

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Surgeon Dr. Barry Eppley

Posts Tagged ‘large earlobes’

Case Study: Reduction of Large Earlobes

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Background: One of the important components of an ear that contributes significantly to its appearance is the size and shape of the earlobe. Earlobes are as variable and unique to each individual as fingerprints. The earlobe is composed only of skin and fat without any cartilage support. As a result of no internal cartilage framework, the earlobe is subject to change from age, gravity, surgery, and ear ring wear. This change is always one of elongation, making the ear less attractive due to the change in ear proportions. Rarely, even a young person may have naturally long or large earlobes.  

Case Study: This is a case of a 32 year-old female who was unhappy with her large earlobes. She had been self-conscious about them since she was young. She always covered her ears by wearing her hair long over them, never pulling her hair back. She said her earlobes had always been big since she was born. She did not wear ear rings so attention was not brought to them.

Under local anesthesia, large wedge resections of the earlobes were done. There are several locations on the earlobe to locate the resections. In my Indianapolis plastic surgery practice, I prefer to locate them in the 4:00 to 8:00 position, making the final scar vertical in orientation. While earlobe scars heal really well, a vertical scar will be covered by any type of hanging ear ring attachment.

While an earlobe reduction is a simple operation, there are a few technical points. At the helical rim, a small v or notch should be placed in a female (anterior) and male (posterior) pattern. This allows the scar as it crosses the rim to not be a straight line. This will prevent the potential for a visible notch to develop as scar contracture occurs with healing. Closure of the wedge resection is done in three layers with resorbable sutures on the back and in the middle and fine removeable sutures on the visible anterior surface.

After closure, flesh-colored tapes are glued on the ears in a wraparound fashion. She could shower and wash her hair the next day without any restrictions. The outer surface earlobe sutures are removed a week later. One can pierce their ears and wear ear rings six weeks after surgery.

With her earlobe reduction, she now wears her hair back for the first time.

Case Highlights:

1)      Earlobe reduction is a simple office-based plastic surgery operation. It can be done alone or in combination with any other type of plastic surgery.

2)      While earlobe reduction does leave a scar, it is imperceptible and should not leave a visible notch on the helical rim.

3)      The earlobe can not only be reduced but the shape can be also changed to a wider or more narrow configuration as the patient chooses.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

Earlobe Reduction Plastic Surgery

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Large earlobes can be the result of one’s genetic inheritance or it can develop as one ages and the wearing of heavy ear rings in women. As a general rule, the length of the earlobe should be no more than one-fourth to one-fifth the height of the ear. But a large earlobe is obvious to the naked eye and does not require a ruler to determine if it is too big. Large ear lobes can not only be too long but can stick out also.

Reducing the size of an earlobe is a relatively simple plastic surgery procedure. It can be done in the office under local anesthesia in about 30 minutes per lobe or it can be done in the operating room when other larger procedures are being done. (e.g., facelift) Since no cartilage is present in the earlobe, a simple wedge removal of skin can make them look significantly smaller. There are several different options for where to take this skin wedge from and it all depends upon where one would like to place the final scar and whether the earlobe is completely attached to the side of the face or not.

The most common and preferred method of earlobe reduction is the medial (inner) approach or to take the wedge of lobe skin out from the side where it attaches to the face. This is the most natural location to put a scar in such a skin crease. There will be a tail of a scar that goes through the middle of the earlobe to join up to a crease in the lower part of the ear that contains cartilage. When the ear completely attaches to the side of the face, this is the best approach. When one has a large earlobe that does not attach directly to the face (space exists up to where the main body of the ear attaches), then a simple V-shaped wedge from the upper part of the inner earlobe works well. There are also lateral or outside earlobe reduction approaches, which also work very well, but they put a scar line that runs through the outer rim of the earlobe.This can result in a more noticeable scar or potentially a notch can form along the earlobe rim.

Earlobe reduction is a simple but powerful procedure for making it smaller. I also frequently do them at the time of a facelift as some patients have large earlobes and adjusting its size as one is already working around the ear is a convenient time to do so.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

Dr. Barry EppleyDr. Barry Eppley

Dr. Barry Eppley is an extensively trained plastic and cosmetic surgeon with more than 20 years of surgical experience. He is both a licensed physician and dentist as well as double board-certified in both Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. This training allows him to perform the most complex surgical procedures from cosmetic changes to the face and body to craniofacial surgery. Dr. Eppley has made extensive contributions to plastic surgery starting with the development of several advanced surgical techniques. He is a revered author, lecturer and educator in the field of plastic and cosmetic surgery.

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