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Earlobe Reduction - Beautopedia

Earlobe Reduction

This guide provides information about the reasons behind protruding or overly sized earlobes, effective treatment options and the cost.

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What is Earlobe Reduction?

This is a surgical procedure which can be used on children or adults in order to fix overly large earlobes or to pin back protruding ears. The length of the operation depends on whether cartilage is being removed and can range from 15 to 45 minutes per ear. Usually only a light or local anesthetic is required. Recovery is relatively painless and typically takes a few days to a week.

Antihelical Fold Earlobe Reduction

One of the reasons for protuberant earlobes is due to the underdevelopment of the antihelical fold. This is the structure beneath the outer rim of the ear and causes protrusion if it’s not well defined. The condition can occur in one or both ears. A procedure called Mustarde is used to correct the deficient antihelical fold. This requires an incision behind the ear and the placement of specialized stitches in order to build the fold. The sutures can be around 7mm in length and serve to tuck the ear back into a natural position. However, the lack of an antihelical fold is often combined with the problem of excess cartilage, requiring two techniques in order to fully and permanently set the ear lobes back.

Excess Cartilage Earlobe Reduction

In most cases, the cause of protruding earlobes is an excessive amount of cartilage behind the ear (medically known as the posterior wall of the conchal wall). If a patient has both too much cartilage and an incomplete fold, then suturing the ear back will only be a temporary measure. You surgeon should also be removing the surplus cartilage in order to produce the most aesthetically pleasing results and to avoid a relapse or re-protrusion.

Removing excess cartilage behind the ear can be performed using the Davis procedure.  An incision is made behind the ear and the surgeon removes a wedge of cartilage in the shape of kidney bean. Where the problem is an abundance of cartilage, some surgeons may suggest a conchal setback (which involves stitching the ear to the soft tissues behind the ear). Unfortunately, this technique (also known as the Furnas procedure) not only produces short-lived results, it can distort the ear canal. Most cases require cartilage removal and repair of the antihelical fold.

Earlobe Reduction after Removing Ear Gauges or Plugs

Stretching the ear lobe with body jewelry has become increasingly popular over the years. However, the resultant gaping hole in the lower earlobe can be unsightly once the ear gauge is removed. The stretched ear can be repaired through minor surgery. To reduce the number or surgeries required, surgeons recommend leaving out the ear plug or gauge for two to three months in order to allow the lobes to naturally reduce in size.

If the degree of stretch is significant, this may require a number of minor surgeries. Smaller holes are usually treated with a single operation. The procedure to reduce stretched earlobes is performed under local anesthesia. Restoration to a natural appearance can be achieved in most cases. Resultant scarring can be improved with laser treatment.

Lower Earlobe Reduction

Oversized or sagging lower ealrobes can be a congenital condition or can result from wearing heavy earrings over a period of time. Also known as mega lobes, these can be easily treated by removing the excess tissue or re-contouring the ear lobe. The procedure takes approximately half an hour with local anesthetic.

How much does Earlobe Reduction Cost? Price Information

Price Range: $$ affordable $$$ moderate $$$$ high-priced

Price Indicator: $$$

Cost of Earlobe Reduction: $1,200 to $2,900

Average Cost: $2,050

Fees Include: surgeon fees, anesthesia, operating room fees, head bandage and removal of stitches

Cost Variables: The prices vary depending on the type of surgery required, whether cartilage is being removed and whether sutures are being used.

Health Insurance: Some costs may be covered by health insurance if the large earlobes are causing hearing problems.

Medicare/Medicaid: if hearing is affected, then some fees and charges may be reimbursed.

Hospital Fee: Not usually performed in hospital.

Facility Fees: Should be included in surgeon’s quote.

Ask the clinic for the total cost including follow up visits and whether any rebates, specials or discounts apply.

How to Find the Best Earlobe Reduction Doctor/Specialist

Earlobe reduction is a plastic surgery procedure which requires specialty training and experience. Although any doctor can be a cosmetic surgeon and claim to practice in plastic surgery, invasive surgeries should only be done by a plastic surgeon that is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. To ensure the surgeon is also experienced in cosmetic surgery, find out if they are a member of the ASAPS (American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery). Make sure that the surgeon’s facility is accredited, state licensed or certified by Medicare.

Be sure to ask your doctor which procedures they specialize in, where they trained and how many surgeries they’ve performed. Obtain lots of before and after photos of patients they’ve treated for the same problem using the recommended technique.

Even if a doctor has the right credentials, this does not mean they will be good at earlobe reduction. Apart from researching their formal qualifications and training, try to find customer reviews to see the overall satisfaction rate of your potential doctor. Independent recommendations are invaluable for assessing the best doctor or surgeon who is most experienced in the procedure. Don’t be tempted to opt for the cheapest cost without considering the above factors. A cheap center may not offer the experience you desire. Also, you may wish to consider whether you feel more comfortable with a female or male physician.

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