Q: Dr. Eppley, I would like to learn of the options available to repair elongated earlobes following a facelift in 2011.
A: Elongation of the earlobe after a facelift is the result of either too much tension placed on the earlobe when the facelift is closed or too much skin at the earlobe. The natural release of tension (skin relaxation) and gravity to gradually pull the earlobe down making it longer. This is a well known adverse facelift sequelae and has even been given a specific name, pixie ear deformity. There are two techniques for correcting these elongated earlobes. The simplest is a direct V-Y skin closure technique that can be done under local anesthesia in the office. The only negative to this approach is that there will be a visible vertical scar from the shortened position of the earlobe down to where it was maximally elongated. The other approach is to re-do a portion of the facelift in front of the ear using the same incisions, known as a mini-, limited, or short scar facelift. This lifts up and tightens the skin back up shortening the earlobe in the process. While this does require a one hour procedure in the operating room under sedation anesthesia, it does not leave any visible scar below the new earlobe position.
Dr. Barry Eppley