The otoplasty procedure, often also known as ear pinning or reshaping, is one of the more commonly performed cosmetic surgeries. This surgery is used to alter the position, shape or the size of one or both ears.
Prominent ears can be a source of lowered self-esteem in adults and children alike. Correcting prominent ears, and other ear injuries or defects, can help to restore that missing self-confidence.
Reasons for considering otoplasty
Most patients seek otoplasty surgery as they are concerned about how far their ears angle out from their heads. Patients may also consider this cosmetic procedure to correct misshapen ears that are the result of a birth defect or injury.
While the vast majority of cosmetic procedures are not recommended for children, otoplasty surgery is the exception. Children who have ear defects or have suffered a deforming injury to one or both ears are considered good candidates for this surgery. This procedure can be done on any ear that has reached its full size, which is typically around the age of 5 years old.
Children can suffer immense ridicule at the hands of their peers once they enter school, which is why this procedure can be beneficial for younger patients.
Are there any risks to otoplasty?
Complications from ear surgery are rare and are typically minor in nature. There are risks associated with any surgery, so it’s important to share pertinent health information with the surgeon performing the procedure.
Risks may include a blood clot or an infection after the procedure. These can be treated during a quick visit with the surgeon.
Are there any potential side effects from the surgery?
Otoplasty will not have an impact on hearing for the patient, which is a concern that parents often have about the procedure. Some of the side effects of the procedure could include scarring and alterations in the sensation felt around the ears. Scars can be hidden behind the ears or in other places that will minimise visibility. Skin sensation is normal after any surgical procedure and will generally resolve within a few months.
What to expect from otoplasty?
The procedure is typically performed on an outpatient basis. The technique used by the surgeon will be based upon the type of correction that is needed.
The incisions may be made behind the ears or within the inner creases of the ears. Excess skin and cartilage may be removed and the cartilage may be reshaped in order to achieve the desired results.
Most otoplasty procedures are completed within two hours. Once patients have woken up from the sedation and can walk around unassisted, they’ll be discharged to recover in the comfort of their own home.
Ears will be bandaged to protect and support them. Discomfort can be treated with pain medication, as is directed by the surgeon.
Recovering from the surgery
It’s important to keep pressure off of the ear or ears that have had surgery. The bandages will be removed by the doctor a few days after the procedure. Ears may be red and swollen. Some tenderness may still be a factor.
Daily activities like showering and working out can be resumed within a few weeks of surgery, once the incisions have been allowed to heal completely.
Results are often noticeable once the bandages are first removed by the surgeon. Even with the redness and swelling, patients will be able to see how their new ears look. Revision surgery is sometimes needed for adults.