Otoplasty, or ear surgery, is used for patients who have misshapen, out of proportion, or out of position ears in relationship to the face. This can be a problem that has been present since birth, or an issue that is a direct result from an accident or injury.
Otoplasty can return the ear to a more normal shape, and fix congenital defects that are bothersome to a growing child. Even fixing a small problem can have a significant impact on a person’s self-esteem.
Good Candidates for Plastic Surgery of the Ear
Children are solid candidates for plastic surgery once they are five years old. At five, the cartilage of the ear is stable enough to be fixed with plastic surgery. The child must also be healthy, and not suffer from any chronic health conditions that would inhibit healing. Untreated chronic ear infections will also make a child a poor candidate for surgery. A young child must also be able to understand instructions and be cooperative, as the healing process will require an adherence to instructions regarding the aftercare once the surgery has been completed.
Adults and teens are good candidates for surgery if:
- They are healthy and do not suffer from life-threatening or chronic conditions that would impede healing.
- They do not smoke. Smoking causes problems with the healing process, and an otoplasty candidate will not be considered if they smoke cigarettes.
- They can identify specific goals for the surgery and have an optimistic outlook on what they can expect from the procedure.
How Ear Surgery is Completed
Depending on the level of reconstruction needed, your doctor may choose a local anesthetic, intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia. The goal will be to make you as comfortable as possible as you undergo the procedure. Once the proper sedation has been used, the surgeon will make incisions on the back of your ear to reshape the cartilage. If incisions must be made to the front of your ear, the surgeon will place the incisions within the folds of your ears to reduce visibility. Your surgeon will use sutures that don’t need to be removed in order to shape your ear correctly, allowing your ear to heal in the correct position.
Stitches are Used Externally
You will have stitches externally on your ear after the procedure, and as your ear heals you will need to take care not to ruin the stitches. How many stitches you have depends on the length of the incision, and no two ear surgeries are exactly alike.
Once your dressings are removed, you will be able to see the new shape and position of your ear immediately. While healing will take several weeks, the effect of a newly shaped or positioned ear can be seen immediately. When you get ear surgery, your physician will be careful to avoid creating any noticeable scars, and they will not be seen by a casual observer. As you heal from your surgery, listen to your physician and remember that it will take a few months for your ears to completely heal.
If you think Otoplasty might be right for you, contact us to schedule a consultation.