If you don’t like the shape or appearance of your ears, you may wonder if there’s something you can do about it.
Some people choose to have otoplasty, also known as cosmetic ear surgery, to alter the ears’ shape, position, or size.
You might want otoplasty if you don’t like how far your ears stick out or if one is misshapen by an accident or congenital disability.
Patients can have otoplasty any time after the ears have reached their adult size, usually after five years old.
Potential Risks Of Otoplasty
Otoplasty is safe and effective, but it’s still severe surgery. So you should understand the potential risks before you move forward.
Every surgery has scars, including otoplasty. But while the scars are permanent, they’re usually hidden behind the ears or in the ear creases.
If you’re concerned about scarring, talk to your plastic surgeon about where they’ll place the incisions.
Your plastic surgeon will make the ears as symmetrical as possible. But there is a chance asymmetry can occur as the ears heal. Also, plastic surgery isn’t always able to correct asymmetry.
Some patients may have an allergic reaction to stitches, surgical tape, or other materials used during the procedure.
Problem With Stitches
Stitches that fix the ears into their new position may come to the surface and need to be removed. This can make the skin inflamed, and additional surgery could be required.
This procedure can be done in the surgeon’s office or at the hospital. Your surgeon may use local or general anesthesia, depending on your preference.
The exact procedure used depends on what needs to be corrected. For example, some surgeons may make incisions on the back of the ears, while others make them in the ear creases.
After making the appropriate incisions, the surgeon will remove extra skin and cartilage if needed. Then, they will fold the ear cartilage into the correct position and fix it in place with stitches. Last, the surgeon will use exterior stitches to close your incisions.
Otoplasty usually takes about two hours.
Preparation For Otoplasty
The first step is to talk about ear correction surgery with your plastic surgeon during the initial consultation. During this visit, you will cover the following:
- Medical history: Your surgeon will ask you about your past and current medical issues, especially any ear infections you’ve had. They also will ask about medications you take and if you’ve had surgeries recently.
- Physical examination: To decide if otoplasty is for you, the plastic surgeon will examine your ear placement, size, symmetry, and shape. They also make take pictures for their records.
- Your expectations: Your surgeon will ask why you want ear correction surgery and what you expect. If you have unrealistic expectations, they may decline to perform surgery. They also will talk about the risks of surgery, including overcorrection.
After the procedure, the surgeon will cover your ears in bandages to provide support and protection.
You will probably have some itching and moderate pain for two or three days. Take pain medication if your doctor recommends it. But if you have excessive pain, call the surgeon immediately.
You should keep pressure off the ears by sleeping on your back or stomach at first. It’s also vital that you don’t rub the incisions for the first two weeks.
The surgeon will remove your bandages after three or four days, and your ears may be red and swollen.
Some patients wear a headband to cover the ears at night for the first three or four weeks. This prevents you from pulling your ears while you sleep.
Talk to your surgeon about when the stitches will be taken out, but some stitches dissolve independently. Also, ask when you can go back to regular activities, such as working out and bathing.
Otoplasty can be a good choice for someone who has a correctable problem with their ears, such as their size or placement. If you have realistic expectations and are in good health, it could be what you’re looking for.
Also, remember that you can have other procedures during otoplasty to give you even better results for your appearance. Some popular choices are breast augmentation, eyelid surgery, double chin removal, and liposuction.
Request a Houston Otoplasty Consultation
Interested in otoplasty in Houston? Please set up a consultation with Dr. Ashley Steinberg today. She’ll talk to you about the risks and benefits of otoplasty and help you decide if the procedure is a good fit.
Otoplasty Overview. (n.d.). Accessed at https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/otoplasty/about/pac-20394822
Ear Surgery Safety. (n.d.). Accessed at https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/ear-surgery/safety
Otoplasty Overview. (February 2020). Accessed at https://www.healthline.com/health/otoplasty#