Prominent Ear surgery, or Otoplasty
, sets prominent ears back closer to the head, or reduces the size of large ears.
Frequently Asked Questions.
How is the surgery performed?
The most common technique involves a small incision in the back of the ear to expose the ear cartilage. The surgeon will then sculpt the cartilage and bend it back toward the head. Non-removable stitches may be used to help maintain the new shape. Occasionally, the surgeon will remove a larger piece of cartilage to provide a more natural-looking fold when 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 tissue.
Will the surgery result in permanent scarring?
In most cases, ear surgery will leave a faint scar in the back of the ear that will fade with time.
How long does the procedure take?
Otoplasty usually takes about two to three hours, although complicated procedures may take longer.
How long is the recovery time?
Patients are usually up and about within a few hours of surgery.
In the long term, 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, as long as they're careful about playground activity. You may want to ask your child's teacher to keep an eye on the child for a few weeks.
Will I need Anesthesia?
For younger patients, the surgeon may recommend general anesthesia, so the child will sleep through the operation. For older children or adults, the surgeon may prefer to use local anesthesia, combined with a sedative, so you or your child will be awake but relaxed.
Am I a good candidate for Otoplasty?
This operation is frequently done on children between the ages of four and 14. Ears are almost fully grown by age four, and the earlier the surgery, the less teasing and ridicule the child will have to endure. Ear surgery can benefit adults as well, and there are generally no additional risks associated with ear surgery on an older patient. General good health and realistic expectations are also prerequisites.
Before your procedure.
Parents should stay alert to their child's feelings about protruding ears; don't insist on the surgery until your child wants the change. Children who feel uncomfortable about their ears and want the surgery are generally more cooperative during the process and happier with the outcome.
In the initial meeting, your surgeon will evaluate your child's condition, or yours if you are considering surgery for yourself, and recommend the most effective technique. He or she will also give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery.
After your procedure.
The patient's head will be wrapped in a bulky bandage immediately following surgery to promote the best molding and healing. The ears may throb or ache a little for a few days, but this can be relieved by medication.
Within a few days, the bulky bandages will be replaced by a lighter head dressing similar to a headband. Be sure to follow your surgeon's directions for wearing this dressing, especially at night.
Stitches are usually removed, or will dissolve, in about a week.