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What can I Expect During Ear Lobe Surgery?

By A. Garrett
Updated Feb 25, 2024
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Ear lobe surgery is a relatively simple procedure that usually results in few complications. Usually an outpatient surgery, ear lobe repair typically takes one hour and is done under local anesthesia. The manner of ear lobe surgery required is contingent on the extent of the injury to the ear lobe. Outer ear surgery sessions are fairly inexpensive and may be covered by a patient’s insurance. Recovery times after ear lobe surgery are quick compared to other cosmetic surgeries.

People with large, protruding ears or ear lobes may choose to have an otoplasty. This surgery is typically considered cosmetic rather than necessary; most insurers will not cover the costs for this surgery. During an otoplasty, the ear or earlobe is either reconfigured or reduced in size. Patients having this type of ear lobe surgery should expect mild discomfort and will not be able to sleep on their side for a week to avoid placing pressure on the surgically altered ear. A small scar will develop at the site of the incision, however this is not noticeable to the human eye and will usually blend in with the contours of the surrounding area of skin.

If the ear lobe is torn, a procedure known as lobuloplasty must be performed. This type of ear lobe surgery usually is less convoluted than the reshaping of an ear, but does require similar precautions and downtime. The torn ear lobe is reconstructed using medical sutures that hold tissues together. After a week, the sutures are removed and the skin should have merged. Local anesthesia numbs the ear before the surgery and the patient is usually awake during the procedure.

Unlike otoplasties, a torn ear lobe usually requires immediate medical attention. Therefore, most insurers will cover the cost of such a procedure. Areas that come in contact with a surgically repaired ear lobe should be sanitized to prevent infections. Three months after ear lobe surgery, the ear lobe can be pierced again, although doctors advise against the wearing of heavy jewelry that may place too much strain on the newly formed tissues.

Physical activities such as swimming and other athletic endeavors may be resumed within a month following ear lobe surgery. However, precautionary headgear should be won for wrestlers and practitioners of other contact sports where the ear lobe may be prone to injury. The only medicine prescribed post-operation is antibiotics. Pain is minimal and doctors will not write prescriptions for pain medications that are commonly used following a surgically invasive procedure.

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Discussion Comments
By Talentryto — On Feb 10, 2015

@ocelot60- Ear lobe surgery will definitely fix your sagging ear lobes. My aunt had this procedure done, and you couldn't tell afterwards that she ever had stretched ear lobes.

Whether or not health insurance will cover your procedure is another story. Though different insurance companies have different policies when it comes to what they will and will not cover, this is a procedure that is likely to be considered elective and cosmetic. Therefore, you are likely to have to pay for the cost to have it done out of your own pocket.

By Ocelot60 — On Feb 09, 2015

I have stretched ear lobes from years of wearing heavy, pierced earrings. I'm wondering if ear lobe surgery will correct my problem, and how likely is health insurance to pay for the cost of the procedure.

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