For children and teenagers, prominent ears can be a source of self-consciousness and even teasing. Ear surgery, or otoplasty, can help reduce the size of large ears and set ears back closer to the head. By age eight, a child’s ears are almost fully grown, so ear surgery is usually performed on children between the ages of eight and 14. Ear surgery may also be performed on adults without any added risks.
The Otoplasty Procedure
An otoplasty operation usually takes between one to two hours to perform, though it may take longer if the procedure is exceptionally complicated. The method used to perform the ear surgery will depend on the specifics of the problem.
One of most common methods of ear surgery involves making a small incision in the back of the ear, exposing the cartilage. Your surgeon then shapes the cartilage, removing small amounts and bending the ears back toward the patient’s head. If necessary, the cartilage may be held in place with non-removable stitches. It may also be necessary to remove a larger amount of cartilage to keep the fold as natural-looking as possible.
In a different though related technique, the surgeon makes an incision in the back of the ear and removes skin, using stitches to hold together folded cartilage. In this method, it is not necessary to remove any cartilage from the ear.
Ear surgery leaves a scar behind the ear. Scars are generally minor and inconspicuous, and fade with time.