Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery
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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 351-356

Repair of gauged earlobes: Case series and review of two techniques according to size

1 Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA
2 Private Practice, Portland, Oregon, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Michael M Kim
Facial Plastic Surgery, 2525 NW Lovejoy St. Suite 402, Portland, OR 97210.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JCAS.JCAS_116_20

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Background: Earlobe stretching is a common body modification typically performed in individuals under 30 years old. Individuals may later desire restoration of a natural earlobe contour. There is a paucity of literature regarding technique and outcomes for repair of the gauged earlobe defect. Aims and Objectives: The primary aim of this study was to provide a strategy to assess stretched earlobe defects and choose between the repair techniques of de-epithelialization and closure or excision and rotation. The secondary aim of this study was to evaluate complication rates of the two techniques. Materials and Methods: Retrospective review of all patients who underwent repair of stretched (gauged) earlobes at a single institution from 2012 to 2019. Patient demographics, maximum earlobe size, motivation for seeking repair, surgical technique, and complication rate were recorded. Results: Fifty-three patients underwent stretched earlobe repair. The average age was 25.9 years old; 60.0% of the patients were male. Defects repaired with de-epithelialization and closure had been stretched to an average of 12.4 (SD = 3.2) mm compared to 29.3 (SD = 10.9) mm for excision and rotation. The minor complication rate was 12.5% with de-epithelialization and 10.8% for excision and rotation. Motivations for seeking repair included a desire to look more professional for work (34.0%), personal preference (30.0%), and joining the military (23.0%). Conclusion: Smaller earlobe defects (<15 mm) with nonptotic lobules can be repaired with de-epithelialization and primary closure, whereas larger earlobes (>15.0 mm) with ptotic lobules require excision and rotation. Stretched earlobe repair is a well-tolerated procedure, although a significant number of patients will require minor revisions.

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