We all care about our appearance and occasionally one facial feature may be out of proportion to the rest of the face and can make you feel self conscious.
Prominent or deformed ears can be embarrassing for children and adults and the subject of teasing that can leave lifelong scars. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that cosmetic ear procedures made up 45 percent of all plastic surgeries performed on children ages 18 and under in 2012. There’s a reason why this age group accounts for so many otoplasty procedures: improving large or protruding ears early on can spare children the teasing that can occur and dramatically improve their self-confidence.
That may be nice for you to hear, but the trouble is you are now an adult. The good news is that if your protruding or large ears are still bothering you, there’s something you can do. Otoplasty is a cosmetic surgery specifically designed to improve the shape, position or portion of the ear. It can change a defect in the ear structure that was present at birth or disfigured in an injury caused by an accident or prior surgery.
Otoplasty in Adults
Some adults seeking otoplasty have been bothered by their large or protruding ears for their entire life. They may have worn hats to hide them or styled their hair in ways to cover them. They may have spent a childhood teased and called names like “Mickey Mouse” and “Dumbo”, but they may not have had the opportunity to undergo surgery until adulthood. For these patients, the surgery can be especially rewarding, improving what has felt like a lifelong source of embarrassment. Other adults may seek otoplasty to address recurrence of the protrusion despite having had surgery as a child or to address changes in the appearance of the ear that have occurred with age.
Ear surgery in adults is generally the same as in children; however, there are some special considerations. The cartilage in the ear is especially pliable at younger ages, making it particularly amenable to surgery. As we age, the ear cartilage becomes much firmer and, as an adult, it is often less pliable. Techniques to weaken the cartilage may be needed. Nevertheless, adult patients still can expect excellent results from otoplasty. The procedure can usually be performed as an outpatient under local or mild sedation anesthesia.
Silence the Critics
Plastic surgery can create a natural shape out of large and protruding ears and, at the same time, bring balance and proportion to your face, as well as increase the self-esteem you have longed for since childhood. It is important to consider that otoplasty should be a personal decision that you make for yourself.
Most otoplasty takes about two hours depending on the extent of the correction involved in each individual case. If you are in good health and void of any life-threatening illnesses and medical conditions, otoplasty could be the ideal surgery for you.
About the Surgeon
Dr. Peter Hilger has been performing facial cosmetic surgery in Edina, Minnesota for over 25 years. With thousands of cosmetic procedures performed, his breadth of knowledge and talent is unmatched. Learn more about our Peter Hilger plastic surgeon