Ear Surgery (Otoplasty or Ear reshaping)

Cosmetic surgery of the ear, or otoplasty, is an aesthetic procedure that alters the size, position, or proportion of the ears. The outcome of ear reshaping surgery varies greatly depending on the changes that are desired, but these procedures generally improve self-confidence, especially in
children and teenagers. If the ears stick out, ear pinning can be performed to flatten the ears against the head. If one ear is positioned higher than the other, ear repositioning can create symmetry. Large, oversized ears can be addressed alone or in conjunction with other ear issues.

When to Consider Ear Surgery

– If you were born with overly large or small ears
– If your ears are disproportionate to your head or oddly placed
– If your ears stick out prominently
– If you have suffered an injury that has negatively impacted the shape or positioning of your ears

Considerations

Pros
– Ear surgery can improve the shape and proportion of your ears.
– Ear surgery can provide a boost to your self-confidence and is a low-risk procedure that can be performed on children over the age of five.
– Results generally last a lifetime with minimal fluctuations.

Cons
– Young children might have trouble dealing with aftercare and recovery.
– Ear symmetry may be affected.
– Permanent scarring or numbness of the ear or face may result.

Are you a good candidate for ear surgery?

– If your ears have reached their full size, which usually happens around age six. Children are common patients for this procedure.
– A set-back otoplasty, which is a procedure to reduce the prominence of ears that stick out too much, can be performed on adults as well as children.

About your procedure

How is a ear surgery procedure performed?
In children, the cartilage is soft enough that splints can be used for contouring during surgery. This is typically done under general anesthesia. Adults, however, have harder cartilage, and the procedure must be carried out by removing or repositioning cartilage after making a small incision in the ear.
Depending on your anatomy and desired changes, your doctor may make an incision hidden inside or behind the ear. Extra cartilage or soft tissue that makes the ear “stick out” too much can be removed. If normal folds are missing from the ear, they can be re-created by shaping the cartilage with permanent sutures or scraping the cartilage to contour it. Sometimes a combination of techniques is needed to get the desired result.

Preparing for Your Procedure

– Stop smoking at least six weeks before your surgery to promote better healing.
– Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs, and some herbal medications that can cause increased bleeding.
– Regardless of the type of surgery to be performed, hydration is very important before and after surgery for safe recovery.
– Practice good skincare. You should rinse the skin on and around your ears with warm water and use sunscreen.

Aftercare and Recovery

Immediately after surgery
Following the procedure, you will have dressing wrapped around your ears. Soon after the procedure, your doctor will remove this heavier bandage to inspect the ears, and will likely replace it with a lighter dressing. It’s essential to keep this dressing in place unless instructed to do otherwise
by your doctor. Your surgeon may also prescribe medication to take during your recovery period.

Recovery time frame after ear surgery

Approximately one week after your procedure, you will return to the doctor’s office. Your surgeon may remove stitches at this time, though absorbable stitches are often used, which do not require removal.
Though recovery is unique for every patient, you can expect to return to work and any light activity after one week. In two weeks, your final results will be visible, though small changes to the ears can occur for up to twelve months.

How Long Will the Results Last?

Results from ear surgery are typically life-long, barring any incidents which impact the shape or proportion of the ears.

Limitations and Risks

– Adverse reaction to anesthesia
– Hematoma or seroma (an accumulation of blood or fluid under the skin that may require removal)
– Infection and bleeding
– Changes in sensation
– Scarring
– Allergic reactions
– Damage to underlying structures
– Unsatisfactory results that may necessitate additional procedures