Otoplasty, also known as ear surgery, is a cosmetic procedure to alter the position, shape, or size of your ears. Patients may choose this procedure if they don’t like how much the ears stick out from the head.
You also may want otoplasty if your ears are out of proportion with the head or the ears are misshapen or damaged from an accident. This procedure can be performed after the ears have reached full size – usually by age 5.
Ideal candidates we’ve found in our Houston Otoplasty clinic for ear surgery are:
- In good overall health without a life-threatening disease or illness
- At least five years old, or when the child’s ear cartilage is developed enough for correction
- People who have a positive outlook about the procedure
If you are considering otoplasty, it’s vital to have as much information as possible. Below are details about otoplasty recovery and other particulars about the procedure.
This procedure begins with the consultation. If the patient is a child, you may need to check with a psychologist or surgical counselor to ensure if the parents and child understand the risks and benefits.
The surgeon will check the ears’ shape, size, and condition during the plastic surgery consultation. Most surgeons take photographs of the ears and upload them to a computer.
A type of software analyzes the ears and helps the surgeon create the best plan to meet your aesthetic goals. If the patient is under 18, the surgeon also will talk with the parents or guardians about recovery and follow-up visits.
Otoplasty begins with a small incision along the line that connects the ear to the head. Then, the surgeon will remove, trim, or cut some of the skin or cartilage until the ideal shape and size are realized.
In some patients, if the ears are too far forward, the surgeon will pull the cartilage back and suture it to the back of the ears.
This procedure usually takes at least two hours, and the patient can generally go home the same day.
After surgery, your surgeon will give you prescription pain medication that you should take for two or three days. If you have pain after the first 72 hours, you can usually do well with over-the-counter medicines.
For the first few days after the procedure, you will need to wear a compression bandage around the head to protect the ears from injury. After a week or so, your surgeon may recommend a protective dressing around the head when you sleep.
If possible, avoid wearing clothing or collars that rub against the ears, which will slow the healing process. After the surgeon removes your bandages, you may need to wear a protective headband for two or three more weeks.
Most patients recover from otoplasty after two months, but you could still have swelling after that.
6 Things To Remember After Otoplasty
For best results, please follow these tips after otoplasty:
Don’t Touch Or Rub Your Ears
It’s important not to touch or rub your ears for the first two weeks. This keeps the ears in their new position and avoids damage to the incisions.
Also, move carefully because your ears won’t be as sensitive at first. If, for example, something hits you in the head, you may not feel trauma to the ear.
You also should sleep on your back for a month, so you don’t put pressure on the ears.
Nothing will interfere with recovery more than smoking. Tobacco and nicotine slow the healing process and interfere with blood flow. So, you shouldn’t smoke for at least two or three weeks after surgery. After that, it’s best to quit entirely, of course.
Discharge Is Ok
If you see discharge coming from the incisions in the first week. Just clean the incisions and outside of the ears with hydrogen peroxide.
Elevate Your Head
Swelling is normal as you recover from otoplasty. But you can reduce the issue by elevating your head as much as possible, especially when you sleep. When you are awake, avoid bending over as much as you can.
You can expect some swelling for one or two months.
As the incisions heal, it’s common for them to itch. Avoid scratching them as it can slow the healing process.
Call your surgeon if the itching is accompanied by discharge or redness; you could have an infection.
Stay Out Of The Sun
Your ears will be numb for three or four weeks, so you may not feel the damage caused by too much sun exposure. Also, avoid hot and cold temperatures for several weeks.
Otoplasty is safe when a skilled plastic surgeon performs, but all surgeries come with some risks. As with any surgery, otoplasty can lead to excessive bleeding, infection, or an allergic reaction to general anesthesia.
Risks specific to otoplasty include:
- Scarring: This procedure does leave scars, but they’re usually hidden behind the ears or in the ear creases.
- Asymmetry: One ear could be larger than the other or in a slightly different position. These irregularities could be because of changes during the healing process.
- Skin sensation changes: The repositioning of the ears can cause the skin in the area to go numb, but this is usually temporary.
- Allergic reaction: A few patients may react to the stitches or surgical tape used to close the incisions.
- Overcorrection: This procedure can create undesirable contours that make the ears look pinned back.
Fortunately, most side effects and complications can be minimized if you select a skilled and experienced plastic surgeon.
Otoplasty procedure can make a dramatic difference in your appearance and self-confidence, so talk to your surgeon today.
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 otoplasty procedure and help you decide if this surgery is a fit for you.
Otoplasty Overview. (n.d.). Accessed at https://aedit.com/procedure/otoplasty
About Otoplasty. (n.d.). Accessed at https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/otoplasty/about/pac-20394822
Ear Surgery Overview. (n.d.). Accessed at https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/ear-surgery