It appears you developed a keloid on your earlobe. Keloids are a type of scar that usually develop after an injury or surgery but may also appear spontaneously or after some sort of inflammation. They tend to enlarge progressively and, unlike regular scars, do not subside over time. Surgery is the best option to remove the keloid but it does not guarantee that the keloid won't grow back. Some plastic surgeons, including myself, also use secondary treatment, such as superficial radiation therapy, post surgery to reduce the chance for re-growth. Depending on your coverage, your insurance may fully cover the procedure. Good luck!
Excision of keloids almost always result in recurrence unless the surgery is followed by periodic steroid injection or superficial radiation. To avoid ear lobule distortion at the time of surgery, the skin lining of this keloid should be preserved.
Cost varies widely but typically would range from $500-1000. It is most important to first be evaluated to determine what will help you best. You did not describe what preceded this mass. Ear piercing? If it is scar tissue, the optimal treatment typically involves steroid injections prior to surgical removal of the scar tissue. In some cases, injections are enough to resolve the issue. If surgery is required, the greatest risk is recurrence of the scar tissue so close followup is critical.
Stephen Weber MD, FACS
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon