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Ear Surgery (Otoplasty )

Overly prominent ears, damaged earlobes, or congenital defects can create anxiety and confidence issues in both social and personal situations. If you or your child face teasing at work or in school or if you wish to repair stretched or torn earlobes, otoplasty can address your ear concerns. Otoplasty modifies and contours the projection and shape of the ears to restore a natural appearance.

Otoplasty May Be Right for You if...

  • Your ears protrude far from your head

  • Your ears lack curves or folds in the cartilage

  • Heavy earrings have torn your earlobe

  • You wish to remove your gauge holes

  • You were born with microtia

  • You suffer from anxiety related to the appearance of your ears

Otoplasty Can Treat

Prominent Ears

Prominent ears are the most common reason to consider otoplasty. Overly large, protruding ears can be the subject of ridicule and embarrassment not just in the schoolyard but long into your adult and professional life. Otoplasty reshapes and pins the ears closer to the scalp to restore a more natural ear profile. Otoplasty can aid patients whose ears present with:

  • A Large Conchal Bowl: This is the round, bowl-shaped area of cartilage that sits beside the ear canal. Some patients show a more substantial, deep curve that pushes the ears out. Otoplasty removes a portion of the “bowl” and pins the remaining ear closer to the scalp.

  • An Underdeveloped Antihelical Fold: The antihelical fold is the natural bend in your ear. Occasionally, patients will not develop all of these folds and curves. Otoplasty creates folds in the ear to restore a natural appearance.

Torn Earlobes

Earlobes are made of soft cartilage and skin that is easily damaged and stretched. Wearing heavy earrings can put a strain on your earlobe, causing not only the elongation of your piercing but also putting you at risk of your earring getting caught and the earlobe tearing. Otoplasty can repair torn earlobes with minor surgery.

Ear gauging repair has been on the rise over the recent years. Gauging the earlobes is the continual stretching of the earlobe to make room for a plug. However, personal preferences can change, and many professions will not accept gauged ears. Otoplasty closes the holes and restores them to a natural size and shape.

Congenital Defects

Congenital defects can be detrimental to an individual’s confidence. The most significant ear defect is known as microtia, which is the underdevelopment of the external ear. This not only presents aesthetic complications but contributes to hearing deficiencies as well.

Otoplasty can be performed in a series of procedures that reconstruct and restore a more natural ear appearance. Here, the framework for the new ear is constructed from rib cartilage and skin grafts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Candidates for otoplasty suffer from emotional anxiety resulting from the appearance of their ears. Candidates can be of any age, as long as their ears are fully developed. However, if the candidate is a child, they must be a willing participant who wants this surgery for themselves; children need to be brought into the discussion about their procedure. Candidates should be in good general health, be non-smokers, and have realistic expectations of their results.
Most children’s ears are fully grown and developed by the age of five or six. By this age, patients can successfully undergo ear surgery for prominent ears or congenital defects. Non-surgical ear treatment is also available for newborns. More often than not, overly large or prominent ears are detectable as soon as your baby is born. During the first few months of their life, their ears are still malleable and able to be reshaped without surgery or discomfort to the child. By using specially designed headbands and other form-fitting devices, the cartilage can be reshaped and repositioned to a more conventional size and position against the head.
If you are undergoing otoplasty to fix a congenital defect or if the procedure is being performed on a child, general anesthesia is typically used. Ear pinning for adults can be performed under local anesthesia with mild sedation. To repair an earlobe, local anesthesia is sufficient.
Yes. The results of your otoplasty are permanent even if the procedure is done when you are young. The ears do not experience physical changes as you age, and therefore, the results of otoplasty will not change over time. The only exception to this is if you add additional gauges or experience ear trauma.
The recovery period for your otoplasty procedure will depend on what concern was addressed. For patients who underwent otoplasty to pin back or adjust overly prominent ears, contour headbands are worn for at least a week to keep the ears in their new shape. Most patients, both children and adults, recover fully in seven to 10 days. Sports or activities that could potentially cause trauma to the ears should be avoided for three to four weeks to allow the ear to heal fully. If you are repairing torn earlobes or eliminating gauge holes, there is very little associated downtime or recovery. Most patients return to work and their normal schedules the following day.
Complications from otoplasty are uncommon but not impossible. While rare, complications may include:
  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia
  • Asymmetry
  • Changes in skin sensation
  • Unfavorable scarring

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