For children, teenagers, and even adults prominent ears can be a source of self-consciousness and teasing. Ear surgery, or otoplasty, can help reduce the size of large ears and set ears back closer to the head. Ear surgery can also correct large, stretched or torn earlobes, cauliflower ear, and even abnormally small ears.
Candidates for Ear Surgery
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 as long as they are in good general health.
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.
Recovery After Ear Surgery
As this is a surgical procedure, there may be minor aching or throbbing for a few days following surgery which may be treated with prescribed medication. Bandages will be worn for the first few days and can then be replaced with a surgical dressing for about a week. At this point, the stitches will be removed and there should be no more discomfort.
It is important for patients to avoid sleeping on their sides for the first two weeks after surgery to promote proper healing.
Ear surgery does leave a scar, but it will be behind the ear. Scars are generally minor and inconspicuous and fade with time.
Are There Any Risks Involved With Otoplasty (Ear Surgery)?
The risks involved with ear surgery are minor and include a blood clot on the ear or minor infection in the cartilage that can be treated with antibiotics. The biggest risk associated with this surgery is that patients will not be satisfied with their ears postsurgery which is why the team at The Plastic Surgery Group of Rochester will discuss realistic goals and expectations during your consultation.
Schedule a Consultation
Contact our board-certified plastic surgeons serving Rochester, Buffalo, and Syracuse to schedule your consultation and see if ear surgery is the right option for you or your child.