Otoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure to change the shape, position or size of the ears. It can correct defects of the ear that have been present from birth as well as those resulting from injury or trauma. It is typically used to treat disproportionately large or protruding ears and usually involves both ears to keep them symmetrical.
To qualify for otoplasty, an individual should be healthy and not suffer from any condition that might impede healing. Children should be at least five years old, when their ears have reached their full size. As with any surgery there are certain risks and potential complications involved; these include scarring, infection, bleeding, asymmetry, changes in skin sensation and skin contour irregularities. Deciding whether the benefits outweigh the risks is a personal decision, but your surgeon will be happy to answer any questions you have.
Either local or general anesthesia will be given during your otoplasty procedure, depending on the complexity of the surgery, your age and your doctor’s recommendation. The procedure can be performed in a hospital or outpatient surgical facility and takes about two hours on average. Incisions are typically made on the back of the ears or within the inner creases where scars will be less visible; your surgeon then removes excess cartilage and skin before folding the cartilage into position and securing it with stitches. Care is taken to avoid overcorrection, which can result in a “pinned back” look.
Following surgery, your ears will be covered with bandages for a few days. There will be some pain and discomfort, which can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription medication per your doctor’s discretion. You’ll be advised to keep pressure off your ears. When the bandages come off, your ears will probably be swollen and red. It’s usually recommended you wear a loose headband at night for a few weeks to protect your ears when you roll over in bed. Otoplasty offers immediate results in most cases.