Surgery of the ear, also known as otoplasty, is a procedure that helps reduce protrusion of the ear away from the head. Most often, ear surgery is performed on children between the ages of four to fourteen. Ears that “stick out” are often the source of teasing and ridicule in young children. This teasing can have a devastating effect on the child’s psyche.
Otoplasty is not limited to children and may also be performed on older patients. Cosmetic procedures are available for those individuals with large ears and for those with congenital (birth) irregularities that detract from their appearance. Additionally, an individual’s ears may exhibit abnormal traits due to their genetic make-up or an accidental injury, such as losing an ear or part of an ear. Otoplasty is used successfully for each of these situations. The procedure can be performed under IV sedation or general anesthesia and the doctor will discuss this option with you. Our doctors have the option of either folding the cartilage located on the back of the ear or removing excess cartilage. Sutures are placed and bandages applied to speed the healing process. The procedure typically takes only a few hours. Regardless of the procedure, patients have been pleased with the long-lasting improvements to their appearance offered by ear surgery.
Reasons for Considering Ear Surgery:
- Bring proportion to the face if the ears “stick out” too much.
- Correct folded ear tips (lop ear).
- Reshape long or offset earlobes.
- Enhance very small ears or other congenital defects.
- Remedy an accidental injury, including the loss of an ear.
After the surgery is completed, large bandages will be wrapped around the head. This method secures the ear in place and assists with the healing process. The bandages are usually removed within a week and replaced with smaller dressings. Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty of rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and reduce the recovery time. Patients sometimes report minor pain associated with surgery. Any pain can be treated effectively with oral medication. While complications are rare, patients can minimize potential problems by carefully following the post-operative directions.
After the operation patients should expect bruising around the area that fades in two to three weeks. Pain associated with operation is minimal and can be easily treated with oral medication. The bandages are only needed for a few days and should be replaced with a lighter dressing. Refraining from sleeping on the ears is required and patients are advised to use a very soft pillow. Showering and shampooing may begin after a few days. Expect two to three days of recovery before normal activities can be performed. Consult with Drs. Gramins and Lin before attempting any athletic or precarious activities that may affect the healing process.