Q: I am 55. I love wearing pierced earrings. I notice that they are sagging a little bit. I wonder if putting filler in the ear lobes is the best action to take, or would it just allow me to wear heavy earrings and destroy the cartilage that much faster?
A: The earlobe, unlike the rest of the ear, is only composed of skin and fat. It does not contain any cartilage which would give some stiffer support. This is why earlobes get stretched out, sag with aging, and even develop splits or tears in them from earring wear. If they had cartilage in them, none of these problems would develop.
Your question is based on the concept of adding a ‘stiffener’ to the earlobe to make it more resistant to sag or to be able to wear heavier earrings.While injectable fillers are quick and easy to do, and they can immediately make the ear lobe bigger, they will not make it more resistant to the pull effect of earrings. Injectable fillers are soft and much more like ‘jello’. The one exception to that would be the injectable filler, Radiesse, which has tiny ceramic particles in it and is more like toothpaste than jello. If you were to consider an injectable filler into the earlobe, Radiesse would be the one of choice.
The best long-term approach to prevent earlobe sag or stretching is to place small curved cartilage grafts beneath the underside of the piercing hole. This is done through a small incision on the back of the ear. The graft is harvested from above from the backside of the concha. One conchal harvest is enough for both sides. This then makes the earlobe more like the rest of the ear as the ear cartilage graft directly resists earring wear better.
Dr. Barry Eppley