Ear surgery, also known as “ear pinning” or otoplasty, is a procedure designed to correct and improve the shape and position of a person’s ear. Protruding ears are placed back into a more natural position, and the shape of the ear can be made to appear more natural as well.
Why Ear Surgery?
Different deformities of the ears can lead to different abnormalities, and each must be treated accordingly. The goal of otoplasty is to correct excessive protrusion of the ears and place them in a position that is more normal and less conspicuous. It is important to note that both of a person’s ears are not exactly alike, so perfect symmetry is not a reasonable expectation. Ear Surgery has no adverse affects on the hearing, it is merely a cosmetic procedure.
Is Ear Surgery Right For Me?
Ear Surgery can be performed on patients of all ages.
Besides protruding ears, there are a number of other ear problems that can be helped with surgery, which include:
- Lop ear, when the tip seems to fold down and forward
- Cupped ear, which is usually a very small ear
- Shell ear, when the curve in the outer rim, as well as the natural folds and creases, are missing
- Large or stretched earlobes
- Ear lobes with large creases and wrinkles
Planning For Ear Surgery
If the surgery is for a child, it is important to stay alert to their feelings, and don’t insist on the surgery until your child desires the change. Children who feel uncomfortable about their ears and want the surgery are generally more cooperative throughout the process as well as happier with the outcome.
During your initial consultation, our skilled surgeons will evaluate your child’s condition, or yours if you are considering surgery for yourself, and recommend the most effective technique. You will also receive specific instructions on how to prepare for the surgery.
Ear Surgery Procedure
Ear Surgery is usually can be performed as an outpatient procedure or, occasionally, it may require an inpatient procedure, depending on the nature and extent of the actual surgery as well as the patient. In many instances it can be an outpatient office procedure.
With young children, general anesthesia may be recommended so that your child will sleep through the operation. For older children or adults, local anesthesia, combined with a sedative, may be used, so you or your child will be awake but relaxed.
Ear Surgery usually takes less than one hour, depending on the extent of the procedure. It can frequently be an office procedure based on patient selection. One of the more common techniques involves a small incision in the back of the ear to expose the ear cartilage. The cartilage is then sculpted and bent back toward the head. Non-removable stitches may be used to help maintain the new shape. Occasionally, it may be necessary to remove a larger piece of cartilage to provide a more natural-looking fold once the surgery is complete.
Another technique involves a similar incision in the back of the ear. Skin is removed and stitches are used to fold the cartilage back on itself to reshape the ear without removing cartilage.
Ear Surgery Recovery and Results
In the case of an outpatient procedure, adults and children are usually up and around within a few hours of surgery. When an inpatient procedure is necessary, an overnight stay in the hospital may be required the effects of general anesthesia wear off.
Following Ear Surgery, the patient’s head will be wrapped in a bulky bandage to better promote the molding and healing. It is normal to experience some throbbing or aching in the ears for a few days, which can be relieved by medication.
Within a few days, the bulky bandages will be replaced by a lighter dressing similar to a headband. It is important to follow your post-surgical directions for wearing this dressing, especially at night.
Stitches are usually removed, or will dissolve, in about a week. In most cases, Ear Surgery will leave a faint scar in the back of the ear that will fade with time. Even when only one ear appears to protrude, surgery is usually performed on both ears for a better balance.
Any activity in which the ear might be bent should be avoided for a month or so. Most adults can go back to work about five days after surgery. Children can go back to school after seven days or so, if they’re careful about playground activity, however, you may want to ask your child’s teacher to keep an eye on the child for a few weeks.
Be sure to ask questions: It’s very important to address any concerns you have with our experienced staff. All successful surgeries begin with open and honest communication between doctor and patient. Are you considering plastic surgery? Contact us to schedule a consultation and let us educate you about your options and the procedures available.