Masks are making certain facial features more prominent. From sunken eyes to wrinkled foreheads, all of the small things we didn’t notice before stay-at-home orders are now coming out of the woodwork. But plastic surgeons are saying that there’s one procedure in particular that is high up on the request list: ear adjustments.
“Anything ear related in the post-quarantine period is hot,” says New York plastic surgeon Elie Levine, MD. “Because so many people are wearing masks and hiding their mid-and lower face, one sees their ears more noticeably.”
Dr. Levine explains that there are a wide range of ear surgeries, and the requests are coming in all over the board. On the simpler side of things, patients are coming in for earlobe repairs so they can wear earrings to jazz up their style. “However, the more underrated—and slightly more complicated—procedures include earlobe fillers, earlobe reductions and otoplasties,” he says.
“Earlobe fillers help make thinning, atrophic ears look more youthful,” says Dr. Levine. Thinning happens because earlobes are highly neglected, and “with age they can deflate, causing wrinkles and folds,” adds Woodbury, NY oculoplastic surgeon David Schlessinger, MD. “We can do a comprehensive rejuvenation with a small amount of Restylane—usually one syringe or less can rejuvenate both earlobes.”
Outside of thinning, earlobes also tend to grow downwards with age (or due to genetic predispositions). “An earlobe reduction—otherwise known as a lobe plasty—can transform elongated lobes to a more proportionate and pleasing shape,” says San Jose, CA plastic surgeon Kirk A. Churukian, MD. “Earlobes are one of the giveaways of age and can often look out of place if not addressed, especially on a patient who has recently had a facial rejuvenation.”
Although this may seem like an alarming procedure, Dr. Levine notes an earlobe reduction can be completed in less than an hour under local anesthesia and requires very little downtime.
Wayne, NJ facial plastic surgeon Jeffrey B. Wise, MD has been noticing an uptick in patients coming in with a common aesthetic concern: “With focus turning away from the full face to only the visible areas, women especially are experimenting more with different hair styles. When their ears are prominent, they don’t like to wear their hair up,” he says. “That’s when they come in asking about otoplasty.” Arguably the most invasive procedure, an otoplasty pins back the whole ear, revealing a softened effect on the side of the face. “They are looking to have the freedom and confidence they had before Coronavirus hit.”