Otoplasty, also known as Ear Surgery will help to correct prominent or protruding ears by setting them back closer to the head or reducing their size. It can correct a defect in the ear structure that possibly was present at birth, which becomes apparent with development or it can treat misshapen ears caused by injury. The procedure improves the shape, size and position of the ears. Correction of even minor deformities can benefit appearance and self-esteem, as it will bring balance and proportion to the ears and face.
Congenitally prominent ears are a cosmetic deformity that can have a serious emotional effect on a child. The procedure is performed frequently for children beginning as early as six years of age, as the size of the ear is nearly that of adulthood by this age, and the sooner the prominence is corrected, the less “teasing” the child may be subjected to. Many teenagers feel self conscious and shy due to prominent ears, and wear their hair long to cover the ears. Adults may also benefit from this procedure, which improves self-confidence with relative ease. Often, adults choose this surgery in conjunction with other facial plastic surgical procedures. Not only is it possible to “pin back” ears, but ears can also be reshaped, reduced in size, or made more symmetrical.
Understanding The Surgery
Surgery begins with an incision just behind the ear, in the natural fold where the ear is joined to the head. The surgeon will then remove the necessary amounts of cartilage and skin required to achieve the right effect. In some cases, the surgeon will trim the cartilage, shaping it into a more desirable form and then pin the cartilage back with permanent sutures to secure the cartilage.
In other instances, the surgeon will not remove any cartilage at all, using stitches to hold the cartilage permanently in place. After sculpting the cartilage to the desired shape, the surgeon will apply sutures to anchor the ear until healing occurs to hold the ear in the desired position.
What To Expect After The Surgery
Soft dressings applied to the ears will remain for a few days. Most patients experience some mild discomfort. If you are accustomed to sleeping on your side, your sleep patterns may be disrupted for a week or so because you cannot put any pressure on the ear areas. Headbands are sometimes recommended to hold the ears in the desired position for two weeks after the surgery.
The risks are minimal. There will be a thin white scar behind the ear after healing. Because this scar is in a natural crease behind the ear, the problem of visibility is inconsequential. Anything unusual should be reported to the surgeon immediately.
Facial plastic surgery makes it possible to correct many facial flaws that can often undermine one’s self-confidence. By changing how you look, cosmetic surgery can help change how you feel about yourself.
Insurance does not generally cover surgery that is purely for cosmetic reasons. Surgery to correct or improve birth defects or traumatic injuries may be reimbursable in whole or in part. It is the patient’s responsibility to check with the insurance carrier for information on the degree of coverage.