Q: I have 3/4 inch gauges in my earlobes which were taken out 6 months ago. I would like the holes sewn up so I have normal looking earlobes again. I want this done asap, please contact me soon. Thanx!
A: Thank you for your inquiry. Please send me a picture of your ears so I can see how big the residual holes are. The good news is that gauged earlobes create an excess amount of lobe tissue, making a good reconstruction possible albeit with a few fine line scars. This procedure is very common for me so all arrangements can be made to do the repair as an office procedure under local anesthesia in advance to save you a separate consultation trip.
The earlobe reconstruction takes about an hour to do for both ears. Sutures are placed on both the front and back of the earlobe. Only those on the front of the earlobe need to be removed 7 to 10 days later. (if one is from out of town dissolveable sutures are used on both sides of the earlobe so removal is not necessary) There is no dressing applied and no special wound care other than to apply a little antibiotic ointment. You may shower and wash your hair the very next day. There are no after surgery activity restrictions. Within a few months the earlobe scars fade to a near indiscernible appearance.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: My 19 year old son has very large guaged ear lobes. I am told they are the largest people say they have ever seen. He has been living in Los Angeles and now realizes that he has made a mistake. He will be moving back home where I am living in the rural Midwest.. He is hoping to attend college and make a new start here. We are looking for a plastic surgeon here and some information on what the cost may be. Thank you for the information provided here and any further info you could provide to us. I really appreciate it!
A: Thank you for your inquiry. I have seen all types of gauged earlobes, so they may be big, but that doesn’t change the ability to fix them. All he has done is make more earlobe tissue to work with. More earlobe tissue is always better than less. While putting the earlobes back together is a delicate and complex task, it is a lot easier when there is adequate tissue to manipulate. Thus, while gauged earlobes look bad they almost always havge an ample supply of skin. Please have him send some pictures to me of his earlobes for my assessment. As a general cost quote, reconstruction of gauged earlobes (both sides) done as an outpatient procedure, either under straight local or IV sedation, is around $3500.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q:I was wanting to know if Dr. Eppley has any experience in the repair of stretched (gauged) earlobes and how much a consultation would cost?
A: Repair or reconstruction of earlobe deformities are common in-office plastic surgery procedures. Short of congenital microtia or earlobe loss from injury, the gauged earlobe deformity is of greater complexity that simple earlobe split repairs. Gauging the ear is a form of earlobe expansion. When the gauge size is not too big (not bigger than the original size of one’s natural earlobe) the expanded earlobe has a generous amount of tissue. This enables it to be put back together in a normal size because there is adequate soft tissue. When the gauge becomes much bigger, the earlobe tissues become stretched and actually thinner. (tissue atrophy) When putting this type of gauged earlobe back together, the final appearance of the earlobe will be smaller than it originally was.
I have done lots of ear and earlobe reconstructions over the years of many different causes. The gauged earlobe is but a newer type of deformity but its reconstruction still uses the same basic plastic surgery principles. In many cases it can still be done in the office under local anesthesia.
If you send me pictures of your ear, we can consult for free by e-mail. This is an easily visualized problem that allows photographs to suffice in lieu of an actual office visit. That way, you can schedule a repair and get it done by only having to make one visit. (although a second visit will be needed for suture removal)
Dr. Barry Eppley