Q: I have a keloid on both sides of my right earlobe and it was at the back before I’ve tried operation back in 2008. Last year I went back to the hospital and they told me they would have to cut my whole earlobe off and that’s when I asked them to discharge me. I now want to know if it could be fixed?
A: Keloids of the earlobe are common problems for certain ethnic groups as a reaction or problem from ear ring wear. I have seen it in both men and women and they come in all sizes. They usually do involve both sides of the earlobe eventually since they are the result of a piercing. When ear keloids become very large, it does appear that the earlobe would need to be completely amputated to get rid of it. In actuality this is not true. A keloid acts very much like a gauged earlobe. There is a central keloid expansion, as opposed to a metal gauge, and the earlobe around it expands and thins. This means there is always earlobe tissue to use that can reconstruct a new earlobe. It may be smaller than one’s original earlobe but an earlobe can always be made. The best approach is a modified wedge excision, tapering the outer aspect of the wedge down to preserve as much earlobe tissue as possible. This usually leaves more than enought tissue for earlobe reconstruction. It is also important to not leave behind any keloid tissue in the resection and to do some type recurrence prevention therapy with the surgery, whether it be serial steroid injections or immediate low dose radiation.
Dr. Barry Eppley