Those with very long memories may recognize the ear in this photo, because it was featured on ModBlog in the 2008 interview with Howie/LunaCobra (click here to see it then). Initially the customer wanted one of the most radical conch removals, creating a hole that encompassed not just the inner conch (primarily the cymba, the upper half), but the outer (a good chunk of the triangular fossa and the anterior crus of the antihelix or “rook ridge”) as well. Howie expertly accomplished this, and it healed nicely and the customer seemed happy with it for years. But as with many procedures — as you’ve seen with the deluge of tattoo removals and lobe stretching reversals — tastes change, and the customer decided to have the procedure partially reversed to build a more normal (and more structurally stable) ear.
As regular readers know, when it comes to body modification reversals, there are few people more capable than Samppa von Cyborg (voncyb.org). I’ve seen conch closures in the past (here’s one by Quentin), but this is definitely the biggest to date, and anything bigger might not be possible. I’d say this ear is at the edges of what can safely by rebuilt short of growing new tissue (possible, but out of the reach of the bodmod community for now), and Samppa has very successfully put it back together. Reversing some procedures isn’t too hard — lobe stretching reversals tend to be universally successful — but when you start talking about procedures built around amputating tissue, it gets harder and harder. I hope that modified people, especially young people, take a very hard look at the fact that more and more and more procedures are starting to be reversed, and spend more time considering whether they really want to jump into procedures that are difficult to reverse — as I’ve commented before, the potential permanence is one of my big worries about eyeball tattoos.