What is an Otoplasty?
An otoplasty is a surgical procedure performed to change the size and shape of the ear. It is also known as cosmetic ear surgery. The location of the ear or the ability to hear is not affected by the surgery. Otoplasty is usually done after the ears have reached their full size and shape; however, it may be performed as early as 3 years old if there is a noticeable ear deformity that cannot be corrected with non-surgical treatments such as splinting.
Indications for Otoplasty
Otoplasty may be indicated for the following reasons:
- Ears stick out too far from the head
- Ears are too large in proportion to the head
- Asymmetrically positioned ears
- Failed previous ear surgery
Preparing for Otoplasty
Specific instructions will be provided by your surgeon. In general, you should:
- Inform your surgeon about any health conditions, allergies, and regular medications.
- Avoid smoking as it can slow down the healing process.
- Follow the pre-surgery dietary restrictions.
The otoplasty procedure may involve the following steps:
- The surgery will be performed under local or general anesthesia.
- Surgical incisions will be made at the back of the ear and within the inner skin creases.
- Excess cartilage and skin tissue will be surgically removed.
- Healthy ear cartilage will be folded or positioned appropriately to obtain the desired shape and secured with internal stitches.
- The surgical incision will then be closed with sutures.
- The ear will be covered with a bandage and you will be transferred to the recovery room.
Recovery after Otoplasty
You may experience some pain and itching in the ear for the first few days for which pain medications may be provided. You need to wear the bandage for the first few days to protect and support your ear. When the bandage is removed, a headband may need to be worn at night for an additional 2-3 weeks. It is recommended to take a week off from work. Full recovery may take a few weeks.
Risks of Otoplasty
Otoplasty surgery is a very safe procedure. However, there is a minimal risk of infection, scarring, delayed healing, over-correction, failure to achieve the desired result, and altered skin sensation.