Earlobe reduction is surgery performed, either therapeutically or cosmetically, to reduce the size of the earlobe. Ear deformity may be a result of a congenital condition or may occur later on in life due to a number of causes, including trauma or cancer. Some people are born with larger earlobes than others, which may cause considerable psychological effects and body image problems. Earlobe surgery can be performed to rectify this situation.
Every person's ears are different, both in structure and angle to the head. Many people feel their ears are too large when, in fact, they just protrude farther out than desirable. This can also be rectified surgically by tucking the ears back. Age and heavy earrings may stretch the earlobes over time. In the case of large earlobes, whatever the primary cause, an earlobe reduction may be performed by a plastic surgeon.
In general, earlobe reduction is not performed on small children, until the growth of the ear is complete, although in severe cases, it may be performed on younger children. An earlobe reduction is, in general, a relatively minor surgical procedure and is typically performed under local anesthetic. Occasionally, in the case of earlobe reduction combined with other ear or further cosmetic surgery, general anesthetic may be administered.
The procedure usually does not require an overnight stay in hospital. To prepare for earlobe reduction, the patient should consult with his plastic surgeon well in advance. This is to establish the required size of the new ear lobe and to discuss any concomitant diseases or medications that may interfere with surgery.
The surgery is normally performed by making an incision and cutting a small wedge out of the ear lobe. It is a quick procedure, usually performed in the doctor's rooms. First the area will be cleaned with an antiseptic, such as povidone-iodine. Local anesthetic is then injected around the entire area to prevent any pain or discomfort during the procedure. The whole process typically takes no longer than half an hour to an hour.
After earlobe reduction surgery mild analgesia may be prescribed by the doctor to prevent any pain. The ear may take a couple of weeks to heal completely, during which time it should be kept clean. A tiny scar may be seen where the incision was made, but this usually disappears over time. The incision is normally made in an area that will allow any scarring to be unnoticeable.