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, or 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 the surgeon will be happy to answer any questions a patient has.
Either local or general anesthesia will be given during the otoplasty procedure depending on the complexity of the surgery and the doctor’s recommendation, and can be performed in a hospital or outpatient surgical facility. The procedure 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; the 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, the 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 the doctor’s discretion. Patients are advised to keep pressure off the ears. When the bandages come off, the ears will probably be swollen and red. It’s usually recommended to wear a loose headband at night for a few weeks to protect the ears when rolling over in bed. Otoplasty offers immediate results in most cases.
Call Southern Utah Ear, Nose, Throat, Allergy, and Facial Plastics at (435) 628-3334 for more information or to schedule an appointment.