Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)
An otoplasty is a procedure designed to reshape the ear(s) to a more pleasing form or position. With regard to overly prominent ears, the procedure is designed to lessen the projection of the ear. It may even help restore the natural curves in the ear.
Excessively prominent ears may lead to teasing, bullying and poor self-esteem. Fortunately, surgery can help with this.
You may wish to consider an otoplasty if:
- Your ears “stick out” too much.
- Your ear doesn’t fold properly or folds over too much (lop ear).
- You have been teased because of prominent ears.
There is another ear deformity, and correction is desired.
- The patient is at least 5 or 6 years old and is able to follow instructions.
You are a non-smoker.
About Ear Surgery
Ear surgery may be performed on children as young as 5 or 6 years of age because the ears have attained a near-mature size. And at that age, there is less concern that surgery will negatively affect the growth of the ear.
Prominent ears are not the only reason for ear surgery. There are various conditions whereby ears may be damaged by injury or affected by abnormal development. Many of these differences can be corrected surgically. If protruding or disﬁgured ears are a cause for concern, you may want to consider an otoplasty or ear-reshaping procedure.
Ear surgery makes the ear look natural, bringing it into balance and proportion with the rest of the face. Correction of ear deformities can result in profound beneﬁts to appearance and self-esteem.
- An otoplasty may be performed under local anesthesia in our office setting if the patient is of sufficient age and other conditions are met. Most often, for children, the procedure is performed under general anesthesia in a surgery center or outpatient hospital setting.
- There may be incisions in front of the ear, within the concha (“bowl”). In addition, there is usually an incision behind the ear as well.
- Excess cartilage may be removed, allowing some areas to be reduced in size. Sutures are often used to repair cartilage and in other instances, reshape cartilage that lacks the normal folds and curves.
- A bilateral otoplasty usually takes 2-3 hours to complete, depending on the complexity.
Ear surgery offers immediate results for both protruding ears as well as other ear deformities. As with any procedure, there is usually some localized swelling that diminishes over the first week. The scars typically heal nicely and are very difficult to notice.
- A bandage is usually wrapped around the head, helping to keep the ears properly positioned. That bandage usually remains in place for 2-3 days.
- After the first office visit, patients usually wear an “athletic headband” or something similar to gently protect and support the ears.
- Most of the sutures dissolve on their own, without the need for removal.
- Oral medication can be used if needed for any discomfort. This procedure is often well tolerated even in young children.