“Pixie Ear” is a common complication -- and correctable

Hi Dr. Kelly:

I had my facelift done six months ago with another plastic surgeon in town. Now my right earlobe is attached to my cheek and being pulled slightly towards my mouth. What caused this and can it be fixed?

Response: The problem you are describing is known to plastic surgeons as the “Pixie Ear” deformity. It is a common complication of facelift surgery and can be a telltale sign that a patient had a prior facelift.

The Pixie Deformity occurs as a result of unnecessary tension created during the facelift operation. The cheek skin at the junction of the earlobe and cheek is elevated as part of the surgery. When that incision is closed at the end of the operation, the earlobe needs to be inset without any tension. In fact, the earlobe should actually be pushed upward, and inset higher than where it started.

The forces of healing have a natural tendency to pull the lobe downward. So, if that upward compensation is not performed during the facelift closure, the earlobe will gradually get pulled downward as healing takes place. The good news is that this problem can be corrected. Under local anesthesia, the earlobe can be released surgically, and inset back in the higher, non-pulled position. The space created from releasing the earlobe can be closed underneath the earlobe, leaving an imperceptible scar.

Obviously, the best approach is to prevent this problem from occurring in the first place by doing a facelift correctly. But you can be reassured that Pixie Ear is correctable and this deformity doesn’t have to be a permanent reminder of your facelift.


About Dr. Kelly

Dr. Kelly is a board-certified Plastic Surgeon and partner in both Miami Plastic Surgery and MPS MedSpa. He has been in practice over 25 years and has been recognized by his peers both nationally and internationally as one of the best plastic surgeons in the United States. In addition to being an expert on Cosmetic Surgery, his practice encompasses the entire spectrum of non-invasive treatments such as Botox, fillers, CoolSculpting, ultrasound, lasers and radiofrequency.

He also believes in giving back to our community, having served on the Village Council for eight years and volunteering as a coach for our youth sports programs. You can email him questions at mkelly@miamiplasticsurgery.com.

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