Is the Position of Earlobes Changed After Face and Neck Lift?

I had a face & neck lift in August 2010. The position of my earlobes has changed. I cannot wear my earrings because my right ear peirce is further away from my face than my left ear. The earrings do not hang right and look odd.

My right earlobe is very stretched and is attached to my neck, it is still sore after 8 months. My left ear is a little stretched. I have very little feeling in my face at the sides of my cheeks and around my earlobes. I have scars completely around my earlobes.

Doctor Answers 38

Earlobe postion should not change after Facelift-fused ear lobe is called Pixie Ear

Unfortunately your ear lobe was sutured to far down on the cheek and the curve of the lobule or ear lobe was not properly reconstructed. This happens more often with mini lifts and inexperienced surgeons, and is called Pixie Ear or Spock Ear.

It can be repaired but the repair requires an experienced qualified technically good surgeon. Consult a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who is experienced at Facelift.

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Pixie earlobes after facelifts

Unfortunately, you didn't have the best artwork done on your face as you have a mild pixie ear deformity.  It would have been nice to see your preop photos to see what kind of earlobes you had.  It is possible to fix this, but if done by an inexperienced surgeon and if you don't have some loose skin to work with, the problem can actually be made worse.

Your problem is far more common after branded mini facelifts than properly done full facelifts.

Earlobe deformity or problem after facelift surgery

Your ears show a mild pixie deformity and will require revision to look right.

You also demonstrate a pulled tragus.

These problems are typical and common with minilifts, especially branded minilifts.

Earring position can be precisely done once the earlobe is reconstructed.

Contrary to popular opinion, these problems are NOT easy to fix.  They require extra tissue from the face to be mobilized and the tragus and earlobe to be artfully reconstructed.  If there is not enough tissue to perform this correction, the correction will fail.

The worst thing to do is a "quick fix" by a non board certified plastic surgeon that will result in further utilization of the valuable tissues that would otherwise be needed to reconstruct these problems.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Ear lobe changes after facelift

Ear lobe position can change after a facelift.  If re-piercing the lobe does not help with earring symmetry then a small in-office procedure can help reposition them.

Ear soreness and numbness after a facelift should gradually resolve during the first year.

Earlobes should not change, but can

In most facelift techniques, the earlobe remains at the same position it was at prior to surgery. Most Facial Plastic Surgeons will agree that the goal is to get the neck and cheek skin tightened and elevated, but to not leave that tightness pulling down on the ear lobe, thereby changing its position or appearance. However, if that principal is not kept in mind, the earlobe can be drawn into a different position when a patient heals from a facelift. This is commonly referred to as a “Pixie Ear” and would require revision surgery.

Manu Gujrati, MD
San Jose Facial Plastic Surgeon

"Facelift Ear", "Pixie Ear" - Complication of Facelift Surgery

The ear and the tissue just in front of it should NEVER be used to suspent the raised facial skin. In performing a facelift incision, extreme care must be used NOT to have the encision in fron of the ear lobule, the hanging round portion where earrings are placed. If this is done, the bottom of the ear will be pulled down and forward. Worse yet, if the incision is placed in front of the lobule, the lobule will end up being stitched to the side of the head, as in your case. This is referred to as a PIXIE EAR.

This will have to be surgicallr released and revised.

Peter A Aldea, MD 

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

Telltale signs of a facelift

Unfortunately, this is a common technical error in facelift surgery. It happens simply because the surgeon brings the incision in front of the ear too far down. As the healing process proceeds, and the inevitable "sag back" of the lifted skin occurs, the ear lobe is drawn downward and the  resulting scar ends up at the lowest point and the ear lobe is pulled into a "pixie ear" look.

I can be corrected, but, of course the best plan is prevention. If a patient comes into my office with "attached" ear lobes (where the ear lobe flows directly into the cheek v. the ear lobe hangs down a bit below the attachment point), I counsel the patient that his/her facelift will be best camouflaged by un-attaching the earlobe and leaving the incision as high as possible beneath ear lobe. Thus, as the healing process occurs and the inevitable "sag back" draws down the lobe, the scar will remain above the end of the lobe and the  pixie look will be prevented.

To repair a pixie...I do the same thing, I simply limit the surgery to just around the lobe.

I hope that helps.

Reginald Rice, MD
Folsom Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Ear lobe changes after facelift

Stretching of the earlobes can occur if the earlobes are not properly supported by the suspensions of a facelift.  While I do not have the benefit of seeing the original shape of your ears, the pictures you show and the history your recount are that of a pixie ear.  This can be repaired with appropriate suspension, but it can involve a more involved facelift revision.  I would be happy to provide you a comprehensive evaluation.

Thomas T. Le, MD
Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Ear lobe change after facelift

The earlobes dont' necessarily change position after facelift surgery, but they can if the healing process pulls them down. There are methods to avoid this at the time of surgery and it is possible to revise but more difficult if there isn't extra skin to use.

Thomas A. Lamperti, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Stretched earlobes after facelifts require provention

The earlobe position after a facelift does change in the days, weeks and months following surgery.  As swelling decreases, the earlobes can strech towards the neck and result in a Pixie deformity.  While it can be fixed with revision surgery, it can also be prevented by repositioning the earlobes slightly higher at the time of surgery to compensate for the decent.  2 days after surgery patients often have "Shrek" ears, that settle into normal position. 

If not anticipated. Pixie ears can occur with some frequendy, even when surgery is done by a good surgeon. If the ears bother you please be persistant with your surgeon to have them revised.  Every doctor wants happy patients, and he/she can only address your concern if he/she is aware of them.  If you have healed with a deformity, by all means ask for a minor revision. 

David Magilke, MD
Portland Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.