Erasing the Regrets of Body Modification
November 21, 2014
Body modification with tattoos and body piercings has become an increasingly accepted and popular mode of self-expression. However, as younger people transition into more professional environments, they often find that these affectations have become a hindrance. Fortunately, cosmetic plastic surgery techniques can often minimize or even eliminate these once-permanent alterations.
Like any other injury to the skin, piercings can lead to scarring. Nose piercings, in particular, can often leave behind a small dimple on the skin or even a raised scar after they have been removed. Dimples, or indentations in the skin, can usually be treated with soft tissue fillers like Juvéderm®. These injections of hyaluronic acid, a substance that is produced naturally in young and healthy skin, can give the area more volume, smoothing out the skin surface and restoring a more even appearance. Raised scar tissue, on the other hand, is best treated with chemical peels or laser skin resurfacing, which remove the surface layer of dead and damaged skin cells and allow new, refreshed skin to take its place. However, in some cases, the scar may need to be cut out so that the nose may heal more completely.
Ear piercing has long been an almost universally accepted form of body art, but earlobe stretching, or “gauging”, which involves gradually enlarging the hole to accommodate progressively larger jewelry, has been met with more resistance. Employers and professional associations often look negatively on stretched ears, and even the United States Army has a prohibition against enlarging the holes in the ear lobes greater than 1.6 mm. Repairing these large holes and distorted tissue requires the use of scar revision techniques. The scar tissue often needs to be completely removed from around the hole, and then the area must be sutured or fitted with a skin graft, depending on the size of the surgical wound. Compression bandages, silicone-based creams or corticosteroids are often used after the procedure to minimize the formation of new scar tissue.
A similar form of reconstructive otoplasty, or ear surgery, is used to correct damage caused by trauma, as in cases of cauliflower ear. Relatively common among boxers, wrestlers, and martial artists, cauliflower ear results when repeated trauma to the ear has caused blood clots to interrupt the usual blood supply to the cartilage. Ultimately, this interruption causes the cartilage to die and contract in on itself, forming a shriveled up outer ear. During reconstructive otoplasty, cartilage can be folded or trimmed to reshape the ear and create a more balanced, aesthetically pleasing appearance.
If you have any questions about any of the treatments that I offer, please contact me today to schedule a consultation. Additionally, Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. provides a variety of options for financing, including Care CreditSM, to assist you. Don’t forget to connect with me, Dr. Hunter Moyer, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest plastic surgery news.