1 What is an Otoplasty?

Otoplasty is also known as cosmetic ear surgery, it is a procedure that can be used to change the shape, position or size of the ears.

This procedure can be your option if you are not satisfied with haw far your ears stick out from your head.

Otoplasty can also be an option for you if you ear or ears are misshapen because of an injury or a birth defect.

Otoplasty can be performed at any stage, provided the ears have reached full maturity.

This is usually after the age of 5 through adulthood. However, otoplasty can be performed as early as 3 in particular cases.

If a child is born with prominent ears and other ear-shape problems, splinting may be a corrective measure for the problem as long as it is started immediately after birth.

2 Reasons for Procedure

You might turn to otoplasty for the following reasons:

  • Your ears are large in proportion to your head.
  • Your ear or ears stick out far from your head.
  • You are not pleased with a previous otoplasty.

Otoplasty is usually performed on both ears so as to maintain symmetry. Otoplasty will not alter the location of your ears or your hearing ability.

It can be performed during any period in your life after the age of 5 when your ears have reached full maturity.

3 Potential Risks

The following risks can be linked to otoplasty:

Scarring. Scars are permanent but well hidden behind the ears.

Asymmetry in the placement of the ear. This is usually as a result of changes that occur during the healing process. In addition, surgery might not successfully correct pre-existing asymmetry.

Changes in skin sensation. During this procedure, the repositioning of your ears can temporarily affect the sensation of the skin in that area.

Problems with stitches. Stitches that are used during the procedure might begin to make their way into the surface of the skin and have to be removed.

This can lead to inflammation of the skin. In the end, the best solution for you will be additional surgery.

Overcorrection. Otoplasty can create unusual contours that make the ears appear to be pinned back.

And just like any other major surgery, otoplasty also carries the risk of bleeding, infection and adverse reaction to anesthesia.

It is also possible to have an allergic reaction to the surgical tape or any other materials used during or after the procedure.

4 Preparing for your Procedure

The first step in preparing for the otoplasty is talking to your plastic surgeon about the procedure.

He or she will likely do the following during your first visit:

Review your medical history. You must prepare in advance to answer questions about current and past medical conditions.

Talk about any medication that you have recently taken, as well as any surgeries you have had.

Do a physical exam. In order to determine your treatment options, the doctor will o an examination of your ears, including their placement, size, shape and symmetry.

He or she might also take pictures for your medical record Talk about your expectations.

Make sure that you fully understand the risk of the procedure before going through with it. Explain to the doctor why you want to undergo the procedure clearly.

Prior to otoplasty, you might also have to do the following:

Quit smoking. Smoking has a very bad effect on the flow of blood to the skin, it also significantly lowers the rate of healing.

Avoid certain medications. Certain medications, such as aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements must be avoided prior to surgery.

Arrange for help during recovery. You must make plans for someone to drive you home after the procedure and stay home with you for the first night of your recovery.

5 What to Expect

Read on to learn more about what to expect before, during, and after your otoplasty.

Otoplasty can be performed in a hospital or an outpatient facility. In some cases, the procedure is performed with sedation and local anesthesia.

However, general anesthesia, which renders you unconscious can be recommended in other cases.

During the otoplasty. Otoplasty techniques depend on what type of correction has to be done. The technique which will be finally chosen will determine the location of the incisions and the resulting scars.

Your doctor might make incisions on the back of your ears or within the inner crease of your ears. After making the incisions, your doctor might remove an excess cartilage and skin.

He or she will then proceed to fold the cartilage into the proper position and secure it with internal stitches. More stitches will be used to close the incisions.

After the procedure. After otoplasty, your ears will be covered in bandages for protection and support. You'll likely feel some discomfort and itching.

Take pain medication as recommended by your doctor. If you take pain medication and your discomfort increases, contact your doctor immediately.

To keep pressure off your ears, avoid sleeping on your side. Also, try not to rub or place excessive force on the incisions. Consider wearing button-down shirts or shirts with loose-fitting collars.

A few days after otoplasty, your doctor will remove your bandages. Your ears will likely be swollen and red. You'll need to wear a loose headband that covers your ears at night for two to six weeks.

This will help keep you from pulling your ears forward when rolling over in bed. Talk to your doctor about when — or if — your stitches will be removed. Some stitches dissolve on their own.

Others must be removed in the doctor's office in the weeks after the procedure. Ask your doctor when it's OK to resume daily activities, such as bathing and physical activity.

6 Procedure Results

Following the removal of your bandages, you will notice an instant change in the appearance of your ears. These changes are permanent.

If the otoplasty results do not meet your demands, check with your surgeon for a possible revision surgery.