Otoplasty – Ear Reshaping
The procedure to reduce excessive ear prominence or reshape portions of the ear is called otoplasty. Excessive prominence or deformities of the ear can detract from the overall aesthetic balance of the face and severely restrict hairstyle options. Excessive prominence of the ears or other undesirable shape characteristics usually occurs during ear development, or occasionally with growth.
Otoplasty procedures reshape deformities of the cartilage framework of the ear where deformities exist, re-drape the skin over the re-shaped framework, and position the ear in a more pleasing balance with the head and face. If the earlobes are excessively large, they can also be corrected during otoplasty.
During the Surgery
The exact procedure necessary varies with the degree and the location of the ear deformity. Incisions for otoplasty are placed behind the ear to minimize visibility. In specific areas the skin is elevated and the underlying cartilage framework is exposed. The cartilage is then reshaped using techniques of scoring, suturing, limited removal, or a combination of these techniques. The reshaped framework is then repositioned to achieve the best balance with the opposite side and to reduce excessive projection.
The skin is re-draped, any excess skin is removed, and the incision behind the ear is closed. To minimize swelling or fluid collection beneath the skin, you’ll have a dressing on your head to put gentle pressure on your ears and maintain their new position. This dressing will be removed in two or three days.
All of your incisions will be carefully closed with stitches that dissolve and don’t have to be removed. You’ll be able to wash your hair as soon as your head dressing is removed.
The Stages of Recovery
For otoplasty procedures, the average….
|Bruising and swelling resolve:||5-10 days|
|Return to work, social activity:||4-5 days|
|Aerobic or strenuous activity:||14-21 days|
Following otoplasty procedures, most patients have very little pain. There is mild soreness – mostly when you bump or touch your ears – for a week or two. We’ll prescribe medication for discomfort after surgery. Most patients require medication for only a day or two.
You’ll notice some swelling in the ears for two to three weeks following surgery. Most bruising will resolve in the first week or two. During this time, you can cover your ears with your hair.
The ears are never exactly the same size or shape on the two sides of one’s head. Although their shape and position are improved by otoplasty, small differences will exist after surgery. The framework of the ear is cartilage. If is moved out of place it tends to spring back to its original position. During surgery, weakening and shaping of the cartilage reduces this tendency.
Risks common to all surgical procedures such as bleeding, infection and scar tissue formation occur in a very small percentage of cases. We will give you more detailed information about these and other rare risks in our written information, and encourage you to discuss any that concern you during your consultation.
If the cartilage is extremely resilient, or if scar tissue forces act on the cartilage following surgery, recurrence of the prominence can occur in a very small number of patients. In those situations, a revision procedure may be necessary. This is quite uncommon.