If protruding or dis?gured ears bother you or your child, you may consider plastic surgery. Ear surgery - also known as otoplasty - can improve the shape, position or proportion of the ear. It can correct a defect in the ear structure that is present at birth, that becomes apparent with development or it can treat misshapen ears caused by injury.
Ear surgery creates a natural shape, while bringing balance and proportion to the ears and face. Correction of even minor deformities can have profound bene?ts to appearance and self-esteem.
Specifically ear surgery can treat:
Is it right for me?
- Overly large ears - a rare condition called macrotia
- Protruding ears occurring on one or both sides in varying degrees - not associated with hearing loss
- Adult dissatisfaction with previous ear surgery
Ear surgery is a highly individualized procedure and you should do it for yourself, not to ful?ll someone else's desires or to try to ?t any sort of ideal image.
Children who are good candidates for ear surgery are:
Teenagers and adults who are good candidates for ear surgery are:
- Healthy, without a life-threatening illness or untreated chronic ear infections
- Generally 5 years old, or when a child's ear cartilage is stable enough for correction
- Cooperative and follow instructions well
- Able to communicate their feelings and do not voice objections when surgery is discussed
- Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing
- Individuals with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for ear surgery
What happens during ear surgery?
Step 1 - Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include local, intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. If your ear surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you for at least the ?rst night following surgery.
Step 2 - The incision
Correction of protruding ears uses surgical techniques to create or increase the antihelical fold (just inside the rim of the ear) and to reduce enlarged conchal cartilage (the largest and deepest concavity of the external ear). Incisions for otoplasty are generally made on the back surface of the ear. When incisions are necessary on the front of the ear, they are made within its folds to hide them. Internal, non-removable sutures are used to create and secure the newly shaped cartilage in place.
Step 3 - Closing the incisions
External stitches close the incision. Techniques are individualized, taking care not to distort other structures and to avoid an unnatural "pinned back" appearance.
Step 4 - See the results
Ear surgery offers near immediate results in cases of protruding ears, visible once the dressings that support the new shape of the ear during initial phases of healing are removed. With the ear permanently positioned closer to the head, surgical scars are either hidden behind the ear or well-hidden in the natural creases of the ear.
When you go home
Should any complications occur, notify your plastic surgeon who will determine if any additional treatment is needed.
Following your physician's instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you speci?c instructions on how to care for yourself.
It's very important to follow your plastic surgeon's instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.
Discomfort immediately following ear surgery is normal and can be controlled with pain medication. There may be an itchy feeling under bandages. It is essential that bandages remain intact and are not removed, for any reason. Failure to do so may result in loss of some of the correction and may require a secondary surgery.
Results and outlook
Ear surgery offers almost immediate results in cases of protruding ears, visible when the dressings that support the new shape of the ear during initial phases of healing are removed. With the ear permanently positioned closer to the head, surgical scars are either hidden behind the ear or well hidden within the natural creases of the ear.
The results of more extensive ear surgery and reconstruction may appear in stages over time.
How much will ear surgery cost?
Most health insurance plans will cover elective surgery done before the 14th year of age. Older patients normally have to pay for surgery themselves.