What is an Otoplasty?
Ears are a sensitive subject to many individuals. Some individuals are unhappy with the size or shape of their ears. Children may be teased for the shape or size of his or her ears. The same can be true for adults who often hide their ears under hats or with their hair. Fortunately, ear surgery is readily available to cosmetically alter your ears. Cosmetic surgery of the ear commonly called the otoplasty operation, is an aesthetic procedure that alters the size, position, or proportion of the ears.
Why have an otoplasty?
Patients seeking an otoplasty normally has ear cartilage that has not developed a normal position or curvature. The cartilage can be curved and molded with sutures or small incisions to allow for a more aesthetically pleasing shape and position.
Protruding ears, is the most common reason people seek out plastic surgeons for an operation. Protruding ears is when the concha (or curved shape of the year) is large with poorly developed antihelix and scapha. Other indications for an ear surgery are:
- Protruding ears
- Overly large ears
- Cupped ears
- Birth defects
- Abnormally shaped ears
- Trauma from ear piercing or other injuries
- Adult dissatisfaction with previous ear surgery
What can you expect during the procedure?
The otoplasty is performed in the operating room. Each procedure will be based on age and ear type. The incision is hidden on the back of the ear. All incisions will be discussed in detail with you before starting the procedure. To safely provide you with the best results an anesthesiologist will administer anesthesia during the procedure. Following the inducement of anesthesia, the cartilage will be trimmed and some may be removed, shaped and then pinned back with permanent, internal sutures to secure the cartilage. In all cases, techniques are individualized to create a symmetrical, balanced, and normal looking ear. Overall the procedure can take anywhere from 1-2 hours.
What can you expect after the procedure?
After the surgery is completed, large bandages will be wrapped around the head to assist with the healing process. The bandages are usually removed within 3-4 days and replaced with a small bandage. Most people return to work at 7 to 10 days. You will be able to resume most of your normal activities within 10 days or less. Patients sometimes report minor pain associated with surgery. Any pain can be treated effectively with oral medication. While complications are rare, patients can minimize potential problems by carefully following the post-operative directions.
How long will the results last?
You will see some results immediately. However, the final results of the otoplasty may take 3-4 months to fully develop as swelling needs time to subside.