What is Otoplasty?
Ear surgery, or otoplasty, refers to plastic surgery procedures performed to correct protruding, over-sized, or deformed ears. This is a cosmetic and/or reconstructive surgery that can fix aesthetic issues or birth defects, as well as deformities due to injury and differences in ear shape and size. The surgery changes the appearance of the external ear in both children and adults. After the ears have grown to 85- to 90-percent of their adult size, usually around age five or six, the procedure can be performed to reconstruct the ears’ shape, size, and position.
What is the Procedure Process for Otoplasty?
The exact details of the procedure depend on the individual’s goals and concerns. For protruding ears, the surgeon will make small incisions behind the ears to trim, remove, and reshape the cartilage. The ears are then secured with sutures so that they lie closer to the head. Other deformities or shape issues can be corrected by removing skin and cartilage through incisions in the front of the ear. In both cases, scars are barely visible. Children’s surgery is performed under general anesthetic. The surgery typically takes about two to three hours.
At the end of the procedure, a soft protective bandage is applied and this remains in place for 2 to 5 days. We generally then ask patients to wear a light elastic headband at night for an additional three weeks to minimize the risk of inadvertently putting traction on the ear.
Who is a Good Candidate for Otoplasty?
Any healthy child or adult with large, protruding, or misshapen ears, that are nearly full-sized, is potentially a good candidate. However, your surgeon will want to ensure that the patient has reasonable expectations concerning the procedure’s outcome.
What are the Benefits of this procedure?
Otoplasty can reshape and reposition the ears so that they’re in proportion to the rest of the face. This can bolster confidence and reduce or negate the psychological effects associated with teasing and bullying.
How do I choose the best otoplasty surgeon for my ear correction surgery?
Only the most reputable and accomplished surgeon should be trusted for your ear correction procedure. Not only are experience and skill a must, the best otoplasty surgeon will have extensive training in procedures of the face, head, and neck. They should also be board-certified in Facial Plastic Surgery. Communication between doctor and patient is key. To ensure you achieve the best results, choose a surgeon who will take time to comprehensively explain the benefits and limitations of an Otoplasty procedure, helping you to develop realistic goals for your specific ear correction surgery.
Preeminent otoplasty surgeons in both Minnesota and nationally, Drs. Peter Hilger and Lyford-Pike are accomplished physicians, teachers, and researchers with more than 30 years experience in facial cosmetic and plastic surgery. Board-certified in Facial Plastic Surgery, and frequently lecturing internationally, Dr. Hilger and Dr. Lyford-Pike are among the most elite otoplasty surgeons in the country and one of the few fellowship-trained facial plastic surgeons in the Twin Cities.
What are the results of otoplasty like?
Otoplasty can transform the ears so that they are in proportion to the face. Because surgeons can accurately estimate the eventual size of a child’s ears, future growth won’t interfere with the procedure. With precise techniques, the results appear natural and are typically permanent.
What are the risks associated with otoplasty?
There are risks inherent with any surgery, however, they are minimal with otoplasty. The surgeon works on the external ear only and hearing is not affected. If post-surgical instructions are closely followed, the chances of complications or noticeable scarring decrease greatly. Risks include abnormal scar tissue, (which can often be corrected), hematoma, and the recurrence of ear protrusion.
What is involved in otoplasty recovery?
After surgery, the patient is usually given medication to control the pain, as well as a head dressing that is worn for several days. Bruising, swelling and mild pain may occur but diminish quickly. If traditional sutures are used, they are removed approximately one week later. A headband may be worn at night for several weeks. Many people return to work or school after 7 to 10 days.
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