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Earlobe Reconstruction

Day One: I travelled over to Leeds from Sheffield to meet Luke Iley from The Oddfellows Tattoo Collective.

The Procedure

Met in a nicely styled waiting area we discussed the procedure before he went to set up. I was really pleased with the work area, slightly uncomfortable about sharing a room with one of the tattooists who was also seeing a client but I was quickly put at ease. After about 15 minutes of marking up, careful consideration and an involved conversation about the techniques employed I felt totally confident as I lay down.

The hemostats, as always were the first and worst sensation of the hour long procedure. The cutting felt precise, neat and Luke kept me informed of his progress throughout. His stitching technique was methodical, steady and Luke was really clear in his conversation, informing me of the process every step. I felt for a little while that he was concerned that I wanted the procedure over really quickly but I was impressed with the speed and great bedside manner. He used two packs of sutures, regularly paused to clean blood clots from the wounds (and eventually from my hair) spritzing with bactine before he started on the next set of stitches made everything so much more bearable, we laughed about the quantity of blood and a few people passing through the studio stopped to watch the procedure and chat with Luke. The most difficult area to suture was the back of my ear, Luke lost a number of stitches by suturing through blood clots! For a few moments I felt that it was stressing him about a bit but that didn't last long and he was happy and chatting as soon as the awkward suture had found a home in the back of my ear.

Once the stitches were completed it was time to clean down, take some photos and clean the work area. Luke cleaned me up really well, even scrubbing the gore out of my hair for me before I left the studio! As I looked over the photos on Luke’s laptop I was slightly concerned that there was a “dent” in my lobe where Luke had sutured the two scalpelled areas together but it was mainly the swelling and tightness of the sutures which were distorting the shape of my lobe. The is a certain “squareness” to the lobe now but I believe that I’ll return to have another bit of scalpelling done in a few weeks time. After I’d settled up with Luke (had to remind him that I needed to give him money) I wasn’t able to tip nearly as much as I wanted due to finance issues but I was extremely pleased with the results.

Healing Experience

Day 1 - Luke’s work was quick, with minimal discomfort and the swelling went down quickly

Day 2 - Took an ibuprofen, hot salt water soak, went to work, soaked when I arrived home and once again before bed

Day 3 - no ibuprofen, salt soak after shower, no ooze, swelling non-existent. Three salt soaks in total, I didn’t sleep well and woke lying on my right ear.

Day 4: tough day at work, stress seemed to aggravate the healing flesh around the stitches, it could have been that I caught it with my headset at work. Some soreness but ibuprofen and hot salt soak helped.

Day 5: Stitches have start to fall away, used a very sharp pair of clean scissors to remove the straggly bits of thread.

Day 6: It’s extremely cold and windy in Sheffield at the moment and this has made the stitches holding together the bottom edge of my lobe are extremely sore and tight today. Hot salt soak and wrapping my keffyah around the lower part of my face has helped, can’t wear a hat yet as I’m concerned about fibres getting caught in the healing lobe.

Day 7: One week since the procedure was initially conducted. Most of the stitches are out and I am really happy with the results so far. I’m not totally healed yet so I’ll report back once the remainder of the stitches are out.

Day 8: the stiches in the back of my lobe were VERY tight today so I cleaned the nail scissors and snipped as many away as I could, now there is only one suture left and the healing has gone really smoothly.

Day 9: another extremely cold day so massaged my ear with a little pure vitamin e oil the remaining suture feels a lot more comfortable and will probably come out in the next few days, there is no swelling or redness and I'm extremely happy with the shape - I may go back in the next few weeks to see whether the shape match is good enough and whether Luke's happy with how the procedure went.

Day 10: Final suture is out and the scarring is minimal, Massaging with vit e oil is extremely helpful.

Details

submitted by: Defience
on: 12 Dec. 2011
in Earlobe Reconstruction

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Artist: Luke Iley
Studio: Oddfellows Tattoo Collective
Location: Leeds

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