Ear Reshaping Surgery
For many people, the embarrassment of having awkward looking ears that poke outward can result in a loss of confidence in professional and social situations. However, with today’s advances in ear surgery, or otoplasty, our cosmetic surgeons can produce dramatic improvements in the appearance of your ears in just a few short hours.
Many people feel embarrassed about their ears because they believe they are too large. However, in most situations the problem actually is just a matter of the ears sticking out. This problem usually can be solved through surgical techniques that simply pin your ears closer to your head.
The average person’s ears are fully grown by the time they are four, so ear surgery is ideal for children who may encounter teasing from other kids as they begin their socialization process. In fact, most ear surgeries are performed on children ages 4 to 14. Ear surgery can as easily be performed on mature men and women, and having the surgery at an older age poses no additional risks.
When you return home from your Otoplasty or Ear Surgery, you will want to have someone with you for at least the first 12 hours as you begin your recovery period. Your ears will be somewhat sore and you may still be feeling the effects of the anesthesia, whether it be local or general.
To promote healing and help maintain the new shape of your ears, your head will be wrapped in a bulky bandage. You may experience some pain and throbbing in your ears for a few days. However, your plastic surgeon should be able to provide you with medication that minimizes any discomfort. For certain procedures, your surgeon may place a drain in your ear that can usually be removed one day following your ear surgery.
After 3-5 days, your head bandage will be replaced with a lighter head dressing that is similar to a headband. Your surgeon will provide you with specific directions about how long you must wear this dressing and how to manage it while you sleep. After about a week, your stitches will be removed or be dissolved, depending on the style of stitching your surgeon has chosen. Your physician will provide you with more specific recommendations and directions for your individual recovery.
For the long term, your expectations should be realistic. The goal of your operation should be great improvement, but not perfection. The ears of an average person are not an exact match, so don’t expect the symmetry of your ears to be picture-perfect after your surgery. However, with realistic goals, you can expect your ear surgery to produce dramatic, pleasing results that last an entire lifetime.
Complications from Otoplasty or Ear Surgery are infrequent and normally minor when the procedure is performed by a qualified, experienced surgeon. However, as with any operation, there are certain potential risks and complications associated with this procedure. One potential complication is the formation of a blood clot on the ear. Fortunately, this occurs in only a small percentage of patients. The clot may naturally dissolve or in some cases the fluid may need to be withdrawn through a needle. On occasion an infection may develop in the ear cartilage, which can result in the formation of scar tissue. In most cases, infections are treated with antibiotics. In very rare cases, surgery may be required to drain the infected area.
Below you will find a list of frequent questions about Ear Surgery (Otoplasty). If you cannot find the answer you are looking for, please write to us, be sure to include the procedure name and your question!
- How is the procedure done?
- How do I prepare for this procedure?
- How long does the procedure take?
- What form of anesthesia is used?
- Can I return home the same day?
- How long before I can return to normal activity?
How is the procedure done?
Surgical techniques for ear surgery will vary depending on the problem you want to correct. One of the more common techniques is for surgeons to make a small incision in the back of the ear that exposes the cartilage. Your surgeon will sculpt and shape the cartilage to the desired position, and then bend it back toward your head. In most cases, non-removable stitches will be used to maintain your new shape. To provide a more natural looking ear fold, your surgeon may remove a larger piece of cartilage when the procedure is completed.
Another technique your surgeon may choose is to make a smaller incision in the back of your ear. Skin is removed, instead of cartilage, and stitches are then used to fold the cartilage on to itself. This technique pulls the ear back flat against your head and enables your surgeon to reshape the ear without removing cartilage. The technique your physician uses will depend on your ear’s current condition and the result you want to achieve. In most cases, the surgery leaves a light scar on the back side of your ear that will fade over time. To create a more balanced appearance, surgeons will normally operate on both ears even if only one ear is misshapen.
How do I prepare for this procedure?
Your surgeon will evaluate your ears and speak with you about the results you would like to achieve and recommend the most effective technique.
For patients who are over 40, an electrocardiogram will be required. All patients must stop smoking, taking aspirin or taking diet pills at least two weeks prior to the procedure.
How long does the procedure take?
Ear surgeries generally take two to three hours to perform. However, procedures that are complicated in nature may take longer.
What form of anesthesia is used?
General anesthesia is used for all surgical procedures and is performed by a Professional M.D. Anesthesiologist.
Can I return home the same day?
All procedures are performed on an outpatient basis so you may return home the same day. However, it is necessary that you have someone to pick you up after the procedure, take you home, and stay with you for at least 24 hours.
All Patients must schedule check-up appointments for the following times:
- 1 day
- 1 week
- 1 month
- 3 months
- 6 months
- 1 year
How long before I can return to normal activity?
You will need to avoid any physical activity that could involve the bending of your ear for about a month. The average adult should allow for about five days of recovery before returning to work. Children should plan on spending a quiet restful week away from school after ear surgery. Even with a week off, children should be very careful when returning to playground activities. It might be wise to alert teachers to your child’s condition so they can provide closer supervision.