Otoplasty is a very satisfying procedure that restores the ears to a normal appearance. We can perform this surgery on adults or children, as long as the child’s ears are fully developed. In some children, otoplasty can be performed when they are as young as five years old. This prevents them from enduring bullying in school.
The procedure might include reshaping a portion of the ears, reducing the size of the ears, repairing an injury, or moving protruding ears closer to the head.
We have the experience to evaluate the ear problem and determine a surgical plan to make the ears look more normal. Sometimes, this may involve grafting cartilage from one part of the ear to the other. In more severe cases, such as with a condition called microtia in which the ear didn’t develop normally, cartilage may be grafted from the ribs, although this is unusual.Dr. David J. Kiener, M.D.
We will spend time with you in consultation, answering all of your questions so that you feel confident about your ear surgery and fully understand what Dr. Kiener plans to do to improve the look of your ears.
What can be accomplished by Otoplasty?
While many people seek otoplasty because their ears protrude (stick out), Dr. Kiener also corrects a number of other ear abnormalities. These include:
- Torn earlobes and elongated piercings (usually from earrings)
- Misshapen ears
- Ears that are considered too large
- Asymmetrical or mismatched ears
- Injuries to the ear
How does Roseville Facial Plastic Surgery Approach Ear Surgery?
If the patient is a child, otoplasty is performed using general anesthesia. Adults can opt to have the surgery done under a local anesthetic and sedation. The surgery takes 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
Ears that protrude are “pinned” to the deep tissues behind the ears with permanent sutures that hold them in place. Cartilage is often trimmed from a prominent “conchal bowl” (the area immediately behind the ear canal) to set the ear back. Permanent sutures are also often used to create a normal “anti-helical fold” that may be absent or reduced in many patients.
No two otoplasties are exactly the same. Procedures are done appropriate to the situation after discussion with the patient or the parents and young patient.
The incisions are made behind the ear so they are almost impossible to see after recovery.
Otoplasty is an outpatient procedure, so you can go home a few hours after the surgery is finished, provided someone drives you home.
What is Recovery Like After Otoplasty?
You will need about seven to ten days off from work or school for recovery. There is, of course, some mild swelling, bruising, and tenderness after the surgery. You can keep swelling down to some degree by sleeping with your head elevated during your recovery period. We will prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection, as well as pain medication to ease discomfort.
You will be sent home with bandages over the ears, which will be removed in about a week. Sutures are generally removed around seven to ten days after surgery. In some cases, especially in children, the skin sutures may be absorbable or placed in a way that they do not need to be removed. After that, you will wear a headband as much as possible for four to six weeks. You should avoid using ear buds for at least a few weeks.
Your ears must be carefully protected for at least a month after the surgery. For this reason, it is important to avoid vigorous exercise and sports during this healing period.
You will follow up with us several times after your surgery to ensure that you are healing well and that you are happy with your results.