Q: Dr. Eppley, I need earlobe reconstruction. I’ve stretched my earlobes to two and a quarter inches. I’ve decided I want to get them fixed and I know you are the surgeon who is best at this. I was wondering how long will I need to let my earlobes shrink before getting the surgery?
A: I would allow them to shrink down for a minimum of 6 weeks, which will be about 75% to 90% percent of how much they will shrink. Usually three months is tehe time when 100% shrinkage has occurred. That is sort of a standard protocol since there is rarely is a need to fix them on an immediate basis. But having done several urgent cases where the earlobes have torn from overstretching and having fixed both sides at the same time, the outcome has been the same whether the earlobes were allowed to shrink down or not. This is not surprising since what is really expanded is the outer rim of earlobe skin which gets removed anyway. It is just smaller if the gauges are removed beforehand. The adjacent earlobe tissue around the gauged site (whcih is what is kept to reconstruct the earlobe) does not change that much.Thus I do not believe it matters greatly whether you allow the earlobes to maximally shrink or not. But if you have the time then I would do so.
Dr. Barry Eppley