WHAT IS OTOPLASTY?
Cosmetic surgery of the ear, or otoplasty, is an aesthetic procedure that alters the size, position, or proportion of the ears. The outcome of ear reshaping surgery varies greatly depending on the changes that are desired, but these procedures generally improve self-confidence, especially in children and teenagers. If the ears stick out, ear pinning can be performed to flatten the ears against the head. If one ear is positioned higher than the other, ear repositioning can create symmetry. Large, oversized ears can be addressed alone or in conjunction with other ear issues.
When to Consider Otoplasty:
If you were born with overly large or small ears
If your ears are disproportionate to your head or oddly placed
If your ears stick out prominently
If you have suffered an injury that has negatively impacted the shape or positioning of your ears
AM I A GOOD CANDIDATE?
If your ears have reached their full size, which usually happens around age six. Children are common patients for this procedure.
A set-back otoplasty, which is a procedure to reduce the prominence of ears that stick out too much, can be performed on adults as well as children.
You feel as though your ears 'stick out'
The prominence of your ears
If you are in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.
How is an otoplasty procedure performed?
In children, the cartilage is soft enough that splints can be used for contouring during surgery. This is typically done under general anaesthesia. Adults, however, have harder cartilage, and the procedure must be carried out by removing or repositioning cartilage after making a small incision in the ear.
Depending on your anatomy and desired changes, your surgeon may make an incision hidden inside or behind the ear. Extra cartilage or soft tissue that makes the ear "stick out" too much can be removed. If normal folds are missing from the ear, they can be re-created by shaping the cartilage with permanent sutures or scraping the cartilage to contour it. Sometimes a combination of techniques is needed to get the desired result.
YOUR RECOVERY + AFTER CARE
It is vitally important that you follow all patient care instructions provided by your surgeon, and to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.
Immediately after surgery
Following the procedure, you will have dressing wrapped around your ears. Soon after the procedure, your doctor will remove this heavier bandage to inspect the ears, and will likely replace it with a lighter dressing. It’s essential to keep this dressing in place unless instructed to do otherwise by your surgeon.
Typically, you will be released from the hospital the same day as your procedure.
Recovery time frame after ear surgery
For the first week of recovery, it’s important that you rest frequently, though you should still move around occasionally to keep blood flowing. To minimize discomfort, it’s recommended that you recline but keep your head elevated. Do not rest your head on the operated ear, as this can result in throbbing and general discomfort.
Your surgeon will let you know when any dressing can be removed, and you may be asked to apply antibiotic ointment to the ears or perform other wound care treatment at home.
Though recovery is unique for every patient, you can expect to return to work and any light activity after one week. In two weeks, your final results will be visible, though small changes to the ears can occur for up to twelve months.