WHAT IS EAR SURGERY?
Ear surgery, also known as otoplasty is typically performed to serve two functions: setting protruding ears back closer to the head, and reducing the size of overly large ears. Otoplasty may also be helpful for shell ears, lop ears, cupped ears, large or stretched earlobes, and lobes with noticeable irregularities. Plastic surgery can also construct new ears for patients who are missing them from injury or other causes.
WHO IS A CANDIDATE FOR EAR SURGERY?
Although otoplasty for adults and teenagers is available, otoplasty is most often performed on children, generally 4-5 years old, or when a child’s ear cartilage is stable enough for correction. Ears are almost fully grown by age four, and early ear surgery can prevent a psychological trauma from the teasing of classmates.
THE OTOPLASTY PROCEDURE
Otoplasty lasts from 2-3 hours and may be performed in a hospital, office-based facility or an outpatient surgery center. General anesthesia is recommended for children, while local anesthesia and a sedative are used for older children, teenagers and adults.
During Otoplasty, a small incision is made behind the ear, revealing the cartilage which is then sculpted, bent into its new position and stitched into place. In some types of ear surgery skin is removed but the cartilage is left in one piece and bent back on itself for a smaller-looking ear. A bandage is wrapped around the head to ensure the new positioning of the ears. To achieve better balance, sometimes otoplasty may be performed on both ears even if only one has a problem.
The recovery period is very short, as patients of all ages usually feel back to normal after a few hours, although the ears may ache for a few days. Bandages are replaced with a surgical dressing after a few days, and stitches are removed within a week. Adults often return to work in 5 days and children may return to school in 7 days. Otoplasty leaves a barely visible scar on each ear that fades with time.
BENEFITS OF EAR SURGERY
Some of the benefits of associated with ear surgery are:
- Restores the harmony of the face
- Creates natural ear folds
- Improves self-esteem