Otoplasty, or ear surgery, can provide incredible benefits to patients in need of the surgery. Many young boys and girls today are teased or bullied for their appearance, so ears that are too big or stick out too far can’t help matters. Even in adults, otoplasty can improve a patient’s confidence and self-image, leading to more satisfaction with the way he or she looks. Big, small, misshapen, and projecting ears are all too common problems faced by people of all ages today. If you’re one of them, or your child is, consider these facts about otoplasty.
What Is Otoplasty?
Often referred to as ear surgery, otoplasty is a procedure that involves the reshaping of the ears and/or the correction of prominent ears. Otoplasty offers patients a more natural look for their ears, an improved balance of their facial features, and a boost to their self-esteem too. There are many reasons that patients choose otoplasty: lack of symmetry, large size, small size, too prominent and projecting, an undesirable shape, birth defects, and more.
Through an otoplasty consultation with your plastic surgeon, you will be given the chance to talk about your specific concerns. Your surgeon will work with you to design an ear surgery that delivers the results you want to see. He or she will provide his or her own evaluation of your ears and facial features, as well as advice on the best approach for your surgery.
What Does Otoplasty Surgery Involve?
An otoplasty procedure typically lasts two hours and can be performed under general or local anesthesia, depending on the patient. An incision will be placed just behind the ear, hidden in the natural fold of the skin. Next, the cartilage and skin can be removed or manipulated to create the desired effect. For ear pinning procedures, permanent sutures will be used to hold the ears back at a more appropriate angle to the face. When the desired results have been achieved, your surgeon will close the incisions.
Obviously, not all of these steps will be taken for a simple ear pinning or just a reshaping procedure. The specific details of the surgical approach for your otoplasty surgery will be determined at a consultation with your plastic surgeon. He or she will give you a more in-depth look at what your personal surgery will entail.
What Is Otoplasty Recovery Like?
Typically, you will be asked to wear a special head bandage following your otoplasty procedure for about 24 hours. This will be removed at a follow-up appointment the next day, at which time your ears will be bandaged again. This new bandage should be worn for three to four days, as per your surgeon’s instructions. Your stitches will likely be removed, unless they are dissolvable, after a week.
Redness and swelling around the ears is quite normal, as is some mild pain and discomfort. Your plastic surgeon will give you pain medication to manage these symptoms as you rest and recover. Cold compresses can also be applied as directed to manage any swelling. Be careful not to apply anything to the area without first speaking with your surgeon. Follow his or her instructions on activities to avoid while you heal to have your best otoplasty recovery.
Will I Have Scars From Otoplasty?
Otoplasty surgeons are aware of their patients’ concerns about scarring after their ear surgery, so they are well versed in hiding their incisions out of sight. With the incision placed behind the ear, often near the hairline or within a natural fold of skin, it’s not likely that you will ever see a scar from your otoplasty. The ears are not cut in anyway so, although the cartilage and tissue are shifted around, the ears will not bear any scars from surgery at all. If you’re concerned that your ear surgery will be obvious in itself, don’t worry. The changes made to your ears will appear natural, as if your ears have appeared this way since birth. While many people might notice that something has changed, your natural-looking results will fool them.
How Do I Know If Otoplasty Is Right for Me?
Candidates for otoplasty surgery should have real concerns about the size, shape, and/or projection of their ears in order to be considered. They should have a fair understanding of the procedure and have reasonable expectations about what can be achieved. Prospective patients for otoplasty should have a real desire to improve their appearance by making changes to their ears in some way.
Additionally, to be eligible for otoplasty, you should be in good physical health, not smoke, and lead a healthy lifestyle. These factors can ensure that you will tolerate surgery well and heal without any delays. Both children and adults can be considered for otoplasty surgery, but parents should speak to a facial plastic surgeon about their child’s eligibility for this surgery.
Dr. Philip S. Schoenfeld of RENU Med Spa in Chevy Chase, Maryland, is a board certified facial plastic surgeon renowned for his high level of expertise in facial plastic surgery and nonsurgical treatments. For more info, click here.