In the name of fashion, we will do and wear the most ornate and ridiculous of things - leg warmers with heels, anyone? And while mostly harmless, (unless recorded photographically) some things done in the name of fashion can leave lasting and sometimes detrimental effects on the body. Seemingly innocuous, earrings, especially large and heavy earrings, over a long period of time can cause cause the earlobes to lengthen and piercings to enlarge.
As recently seen on The Doctors, a few preventative measures could be implemented to reduce the risk of drooping earlobes with enlarged piercings. First, swap out all heavy metal earrings with those made of lighter materials, such as bamboo, wood or plastic. Second, if you are wearing heavier earrings, put a bit of surgical tape to the back of the earlobe to add extra support.
However, if your condition is further along and the earlobes and piercings are already enlarged, there is a procedure that may help. A form of otoplasty or cosmetic ear surgery, the earlobe reduction procedure focuses on removing the excess flesh created by years of wearing heavy earrings.
After the earlobe is numbed with Novocain, a section of the excess flesh and the stretched hole from the piercing is completely removed. After which, the two halves are sewn back up with several fine sutures. Once healed, after approximately a week, a thin white scar will be visible but will fade over time.
After 6 weeks, the earlobes can be re-pierced and patients may choose to wear earrings again.
According to Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Haresh Yalamanchili, "Split/torn earlobes or stretched earlobes are a common problem faced by many women. Fortunately, repairing the earlobe is a relatively straightforward office procedure that can be performed in less than an hour. In certain cases, however, the problem may be that the earlobe has thinned and the earring will not stay in the desired position, but will instead droop downward. In these cases it is often possible to rejuvenate the earlobe by using a dermal filler to plump it up. This creates the support for an earring to remain in the ideal position."
Actual Earlobe Gauging Repair Results of Dr. Haresh Yalamanchili
Dr. Yalamanchili goes on to say "With the rise in popularity of gauging earlobes over the past two decades, I have also seen a stark increase in the number of patients requesting a repair of the severely stretched out or deformed earlobe. In many cases, these patients need to enter the corporate world or are seeking some other employment in which the appearance of their ears is unacceptable. In most cases of gauged ears, a surgical repair is required in order to restore the earlobe to a more natural shape. Although this procedure is more complicated and can take longer than the repair of a split earlobe, it is still performed comfortably in the office. Although there are incisions involved, they typically heal very well without leaving behind to much evidence of the repair."
The cost of these procedures can vary ($500- $1500) depending on the severity of the problem.