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.
Benefits Of Otoplasty
When a child has ears that protrude more than normal, they’re open to teasing and taunting at school. Plus, the ears can make the child self-conscious. This is a critical time for developing self-confidence and teasing from peers can hammer that. This is a simple surgery with our experienced surgeons at the Plastic Surgery Group of Rochester. The procedure is straightforward, and the recovery is not difficult. You may not give your ears a second thought, but a child with protruding or misshapen ears will attract unwanted attention. This surgery allows the child to avoid that.
Also, if you’re an adult but your ears were never addressed, the same benefits are true! Women can stop hiding their ears behind their hair. Men can stop stuffing them under a baseball cap. Of course, if you’re coming to us to repair a torn earlobe or an earlobe that has become permanently stretched due to large gauges, the benefits are obvious.
Is Ear Surgery Safe?
These are safe, effective procedures. Risks are very slight, and the outcomes are very positive for the person. In every way, the benefits far outweigh any risk or pain involved with otoplasty.
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.
Does Ear Surgery Hurt?
These procedures are done under local anesthesia and there is no pain or feeling during the surgery. Afterward, the ears may throb at times and there is some discomfort. It is not severe. Most patients feel over-the-counter pain medication is fully capable of mitigating the pain.
Sleeping can be a challenge for a couple of weeks, as the patient can’t sleep on his or her side. As for any lingering pain, it should be fully resolved in a week when the stitches are usually removed.
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 the 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.
These surgeries bring the ears closer to the head. Ear surgery can also repair damaged or stretched earlobes, reshape misshapen ears, and provide cosmetic improvements.
How Long Do The Results Of Ear Surgery Last?
All otoplasty procedures are permanent changes to the ears. That is because the ears are fully grown by the age of four, so surgery at any time past that point in a person’s life creates permanent changes in the ear or ears. Whether the ears are being brought closer to the head, whether they are being reshaped, or whether they are being repaired due to trauma or damage, the changes our surgeons make will endure the rest of your life.
What Our Patients Have To Say
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.
How Soon After My Ear Surgery Can I Return To My Normal Activities?
Children can usually return to school after about one week. That’s why a good time for these surgeries is during the summertime, so the child doesn’t have to miss school. Adults may not need that much recovery time. This varies with the patient.
Is Otoplasty Covered By Insurance?
Otoplasty may be covered by your insurance if the surgery is to correct a congenital problem, such as a misshapen ear or asymmetry. Simply pinning the ears, however, often is not covered. This varies with the case and the insurance company. We will work with your insurance company to merit the highest level of coverage.