Otoplasty involves any type of cosmetic surgical procedure on the outer ear. You may want to have otoplasty to correct the size, shape, or position of the ears.
Otoplasty may be a good choice in the following situations:
- Ears that stick out too far from the sides of the head
- Ears that fold over at the top
- Ears that are different sizes and shapes
- Ears that are too large in proportion to other features of the face
- Ears that require repair due to congenital disabilities or injury
Ear reshaping also can be performed on the ear lobes, often to fix excessive holes from ear piercing. But this surgery is usually done on adults, not children.
If you are considering otoplasty, it’s essential to know the procedure before you make a decision. Below is what you need to know about otoplasty, including the best age to have it.
How Old Should You Be For Otoplasty?
Children with ears that stick out may be targeted for teasing and bullying. Studies suggest that children can suffer long-term consequences from this behavior: loss of self-confidence, social challenges, and even bad grades. Because the problem often starts when the child begins school, you may want to consider the procedure before their first day.
Many surgeons usually like to wait until the cartilage in the ears has become stable, which is generally at about five years old. Some parents want to have their child undergo the procedure when they are five to seven years old.
If they do the surgery, the child can start school with more aesthetically pleasing ears.
While many otoplasties are done on children, there is no upper age limit for when you can have this procedure. Even if you are an adult in your 40s and 50s, you can undergo otoplasty to address common issues.
There are many otoplasty procedures to consider, depending on your situation and anatomy. Your surgeon may want to alter the shape, position, or size of the ears, depending on your anatomy. He or she will go over the recommended procedure in detail, so you know what your ears will look like.
Ask your surgeon to give you recent before and after photos of patients who had otoplasty and had ears similar to yours. This should give you more confidence as the day of the procedure approaches.
See Also: What To Expect With Ear Surgery?
What Is Ear Pinning?
Ear pinning also is known as an ear tuck. It’s a cosmetic surgery procedure to make protruding ears lie closer to the patient’s head. Protruding ears are defined as sticking out about .8 inches or more from the head.
This procedure takes from one to three hours, and the patient is usually given a local anesthetic. The ears are cleaned, then the surgeon makes an incision at the back of the ear to access the cartilage. After he or she trims away the extra cartilage, the surgeon repositions the ear, so it lies closer to the skull.
If a lot of cartilage is removed, your surgeon may need to remove skin, too. Once the ideal size and shape are achieved, the surgeon will angle the ears so its closer to the head.
In some cases, the surgeon doesn’t remove any cartilage; instead, they will remove extra skin and reposition the ear.
For the first week after your procedure, your ear may leak a dark, thick substance that contains blood. This is normal, but you should clean the ear with peroxide when this happens. Don’t let water get into the ear during the healing process.
You should avoid strenuous physical activity such as sports and swimming for several weeks as your ears heal. Also, it’s important not to blow your nose for 14 days after surgery, as this can lead to excessive ear pressure.
Ideal Candidate For Otoplasty
Children between five and seven are excellent candidates for this procedure if they are in good health and don’t have any ear infections before surgery.
Teenagers and adults also are good candidates if they are in good health and don’t smoke.
This procedure is not recommended for children under five because their ears have not yet fully developed.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Otoplasty
The most significant advantage of this cosmetic procedure is that your board-certified surgeon can improve the shape of the ear and how it sits on your head – permanently. Otoplasty also can increase your self-esteem with little risk.
A potential disadvantage is that your ears won’t be as symmetrical as you want. You also could experience scarring and numbness.
The best way to ensure an excellent surgical result is to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive training in otoplasty.
If you want to have other procedures simultaneously, you can get all of your recovery done at once and save on costs. Popular procedures to pair with otoplasty are eyelid surgery, liposuction, and a mommy makeover.
Request a Houston Otoplasty Consultation
Interested in an otoplasty procedure in Houston? Please set up a consultation with Dr. Ashley Steinberg today. She’ll talk to you about the benefits and risks of the procedure to determine if you’re a good candidate for otoplasty.
Otoplasty Overview. (n.d.). Accessed at https://aedit.com/procedure/otoplasty#:~:text
Otoplasty Basics. (n.d.). Accessed at https://www.healthline.com/health/otoplasty