Surgery of the ear (Otoplasty) is a surgical procedure to set prominent ears back closer to the head or to reduce the size of large ears.
For the most part, the operation is done on children between the ages of 4 and 14. Ears are almost fully grown by age 4, and the earlier the surgery, the less teasing and ridicule the child will have to endure.
Ear surgery on adults is also possible, and there are generally no additional risks associated with ear surgery on an older patient.
If your child is young, general anaesthesia may be recommended, so the child will sleep through the operation. For older children or adults, the surgeon may prefer to use local anaesthesia, combined with a sedative, so you or your child will be awake but relaxed.
Many ear surgery procedures are done under light sedation and local anaesthesia, allowing the patient to go home the same day.
Besides protruding ears, there are a variety of other ear problems that can be helped with surgery. These include: “lop ear,” when the top seems to fold down and forward; “cupped ear,” which is usually a very small ear; and, “shell ear,” when the curve in the outer rim, as well as the natural folds and creases, are missing.
Surgery can also improve large or stretched earlobes, or lobes with large creases and wrinkles. It is even possible to build new ears!
BEFORE THE SURGERY
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Ear surgery usually takes about two to three hours, although complicated procedures may take longer.
The technique will depend on the problem. With one of the more common techniques, a small incision is made in the back of the ear to expose the ear cartilage. The cartilage is sculpted and bent back toward the head. Non-removable stitches may be used to help maintain the new shape. Occasionally, a larger piece of cartilage will be removed to provide a more natural-looking fold when the surgery is complete.
Another technique involves a similar incision in the back of the ear. Skin is removed and stitches are used to fold the cartilage back on itself to reshape the ear without removing cartilage.
AFTER THE SURGERY
In most cases, ear surgery will leave a faint scar in the back of the ear that will fade with time. Even when only one ear appears to protrude, surgery is usually performed on both ears for a better balance.
Within a few days, the bulky bandages will be replaced by a lighter head dressing similar to a headband. Stitches are usually removed, or will dissolve, in about a week.
Any activity in which the ear might be bent should be avoided for a month or so. Most adults can go back to work about five days after surgery. Children can go back to school after seven days or so, if they’re careful to limit physical activity.
Please note that this information is offered freely to individuals considering cosmetic surgery. No rights are granted and it is not to be reprinted or copied without the prior written consent of Cosmetic Surgery Net – UK . Beware that although efforts have been made to assure accuracy, many of the issues discussed here are a matter of professional opinion. Consultation with a Qualified Plastic Surgeon should be obtained to answer more detailed questions and advise you based on your personal circumstances.