Earlobe Reconstruction for Gauged Ears

Though the trend only began growing in popularity towards the end of the 20th century, earlobe stretching has been around since the pharaohs of Egypt. People can stretch their earlobes from a few millimeters to a few centimeters with special gauges that keep a hole in the soft tissue and slowly increase the diameter over time. Over the past couple years, plastic surgeons have seen an increase in the number of patients with stretched earlobes who want to restore their ears back to normal. Some do this for work, others because they have outgrown the trend, or just to please a significant other. The procedure is a fairly simple process, though maybe not quite as simple as you might think.

How Gauges Damage Your Earlobes

Gauges come in all sizes that allow a person to stretch their earlobes as much as they want. But when they take the gauges out, the earlobes don’t shrink back to their normal size. Why? Because the gauges cause the soft tissue to be displaced in order to create the hole. The result is a void of soft tissue volume in the middle of the earlobe. While earlobes are made out of soft tissue, which is fairly flexible, the holes created by the gauges cause permanent damage that won’t allow the earlobes to spring back into the shape they were before the gauges. This is true regardless of the size of the hole created.

Why Don’t Surgeons Just Sew the Hole Shut?

Gauges earlobes are different from earlobes that have been torn. Torn earlobes are usually the result of an earring being ripped out or an injury. In this instance, the soft tissue is still present in the middle of the earlobe, so stitching it back together won’t be a problem. With gauged earlobes, however, the soft tissue volume has been shifted away from the middle of the earlobe. Stitching the hole back together would leave the patient with an abnormal earlobe shape, almost like a tear drop. Since the goal is to return the earlobes back to normal, a little more work is required on behalf of the plastic surgeon.

How Gauged Ears are Reconstructed

The earlobe is made of two different layers – the outside layer of skin that covers the front and back, and the inside layer of soft tissue that determines how the earlobe is shaped. In order to recreate the patient’s earlobe, the surgeon has to rebuild it with existing tissue. This usually comes from the ear itself, but it can also come from the tissue behind the ear.

To close the gauge hole, the surgeon first has to remove the top layer of skin within the hole itself. Then the flap of soft tissue being used to recreate the earlobe is moved and sutured into place. The sutures stay on for a couple of weeks, then the earlobes are back to normal with little scarring from the procedure.

If you are interested in having your gauged ears reconstructed, you should look for a plastic surgeon with a great deal of skill and experience in otoplasty (ear reshaping). Dr. Frederick G. Weniger, M.D., F.A.C.S. is well known by patients and surgeons for his expertise in otoplasty and reconstructive surgery. He has helped patients from all over achieve their plastic surgery goals while providing a safe and positive experience at his state-of-the-art private practice in Bluffton, SC.

To schedule a patient consultation with Dr. Weniger or get more information about otoplasty and reconstructive surgery, call (843) 757-0123 or send him an email through the Contact page here on his website.