Patients Focus on Their Ears with Mask Requirements Under Covid-19
Another unexpected trend in cosmetic plastic surgery has come through the increasing use of face masks during the global Covid-19 pandemic; a focus on ears. As more and more people around the world are required to wear face masks in shops, on public transportation or in public in general, we are beginning to see ourselves and experience our faces in a different way. This is turn has led to a surge in the number of inquiries to cosmetic plastic surgeons about procedures for the ears such as otoplasty. *
Mask On, Mask Off…
Interestingly, with mask wearing becoming increasingly common, we are exposing our ears more and more and using them regularly in ways we never thought we would unless we worked in the medical field or in a job which required a mask to protect our respiratory system. Mask on, mask off, repeat… This means having hair styles that are not affected by behind the ear or tie behind the head masks. It also means for those of us with pierced ears not catching the ties or elastics of the mask in our earrings. If we wear clip on ear ornaments of any kind it means not pulling them off. And of course, eyeglasses, sunglasses, baseball caps and more can be disrupted by our newly required mask routines.
We are also seeing a rising trend in “ear saving” methods of keeping mask elastics which are too tight from pinching or binding at our ears. These innovative methods include the use of headbands, hair barrettes and anything to take the tension off our ears.
Let’s face it, our ears now play an important role in holding our masks in place whether they be tied behind our heads or with elastics around our ears. This has made people assess or reassess their ears as a part of their appearance which has in turn resulted in a rise in people wanting to know what can be done to improve the appearance or position of their ears.
Otoplasty/Pinning the Ears Back
Before & After Otoplasty by Dr Hodgkinson
When people think of cosmetic surgery for the ears, they most commonly think of “pinning the ears back”. This surgical reduction in the protrusion and/or size of the pinna of the ear (the outer ear) is known as Otoplasty. Otoplasty can both reduce the size of the concha of the ear, reduce the protrusion and or improve the shape.
It is interesting that many people associate “bat ears” or ears that protrude and their correction with children as children are often teased. This is also true as surgical correction can take place any time from approximately 6 years of age onward. What is not known, is that many people seek out otoplasty later in life. If they were teased as a child and surgery was not an option, they would have found ways to disguise their ears with hairstyles or hats to minimize any focus on their ears.
Increasingly, we are seeing older women and men presenting for otoplasty and even more enquiring about this procedure now that they are seeing themselves on screen in Zoom meetings (see our blog on “Zoom Gloom”) as well as having their ears more regularly exposed with the donning of protective facial masks.
Repairing Torn Ear Lobes
Both men and women get torn ear lobes from piercings which have been pulled. This can happen by a child pulling on an earring, the earring getting caught in clothing or any other such simple act. These tears can be partial being within the lobe of the ear or complete and tear through to the edge of the earlobe. When partial, people may ponder whether to get the piercing repaired and often change the style of earrings worn to de-emphasize the asymmetry which results from having an elongated piercing.
Those with complete tears through their earlobe often seek out a surgical solution right away as the “cleft ear” can be disturbing not only in appearance but is much more difficult to camouflage.
The good news is that it is a relatively simple procedure to repair the earlobe by surgically suturing it back together. After the tear, whether complete or incomplete is sutured back together, the ear can be pierced again in the normal position six weeks later after healing has taken place.
Yes, earlobes can sag and droop as we age too! As so much of ageing is affected by genetics so too is the ageing of your earlobes. As we age, many of us will lose the fat in our earlobes just as we do in our cheek area which leads to a sagging aged appearance. This thinning of the tissues can also make the ears look thin and like crepe paper. This gives an aged appearance to the face and can make it hard to wear earrings.
Droopy, crepey earlobes can also be surgically repaired via an earlobe reduction wherein the earlobes are surgically reduced to give a more “normal” and youthful shape and appearance.
Ears have been the latest unanticipated aesthetic surgical trend of the Coronavirus pandemic. With the use of Zoom for work and socialization, there was an initial surge in facial rejuvenation surgery including facelifts, neck lifts, eyelid surgery and rhinoplasty (nose reshaping surgery). Now with the move to masks, we are seeing a greater focus on eyes and ears. Eyes have always been and always will remain popular as a major communicative feature of an individuals face but the newly found focus on ears has come to many as an unforeseen surprise.
If you have any concerns about the shape of your ears or earlobes, please contact us to set up an online or in person consultation. Dr Hodgkinson is an expert at ear reshaping surgery with over 30 years of experience.