Otoplasty/ Ear Reshaping

Otoplasty is surgery performed to improve the shape, position or proportion of the ear. Most commonly the procedure is performed to correct prominent ears by setting them back closer to the head.

1.  What is Otoplasty?

2.  What is "Prominent Ear Deformity"?

3.  How is Otoplasty performed?

4.  Who is a candidate for Otoplasty surgery?

5.  Is there a difference between pediatric and adult Otoplasty?

6.  Where are the incisions made for Otoplasty?

7.  How long does Otoplasty surgery take to perform?

8.  What is the post-operative care after Otoplasty surgery?

9.  When is the best time to perform a pediatric Otoplasty?

 

1. What is Otoplasty?

Otoplasty is surgery performed to improve the shape, position or proportion of the ear.Most commonly the procedure is performed to correct prominent ears by setting them back closer to the head.

2.  What is "Prominent Ear Deformity"?

A Prominent Ear Deformity, also known as Protruding Ears, is typically composed of three malformations.The severity of each of these malformations varies between patients.One, two or all three irregularities are surgically corrected during an Otoplasty procedure.The features seen in a patient with prominent or protruding ears include the following:An absent antihelical fold, obtuse conchoscaphal angle, and a deep conchal bowl.The result of these irregularities is an increased distance of the helical rim to the scalp.

3.  How is Otoplasty performed?

Otoplasty can be performed using local anesthesia, sedation anesthesia or general anesthesia.In the case of pediatric otoplasty, using general anesthesia is most appropriate.Through an incision made on the back of the ear, surgical techniques, such as cartilage reshaping and occasional cartilage removal or breaking can be performed to create a normal ear shape.This procedure can be done on one or both ears, as needed.Most often, permanent sutures are used to hold the cartilage in a newly molded shape.As the ear heals, scar tissue will develop that will help keep the ear in the newly repositioned and reshaped appearance.

4.  Who is a candidate for Otoplasty surgery?

Both children as well as adults are candidates for Otoplasty surgery.Anyone with malformed ears who is in good enough health to undergo surgery is a potential candidate for an Otoplasty.

5.  Is there a difference between pediatric and adult Otoplasty?

Generally, a child or young adult has more flexible or malleable ear cartilage.This allows for easier manipulation of the ear and many times a more natural appearing result.As we age, the cartilage that gives shape to the ear, tends to get harder.When ear cartilage becomes stiff it may require scoring or cutting in order to shift the ear into a more aesthetically pleasing position.

6.  Where are the incisions made for Otoplasty?

In most cases the only incision needed is on the back of the ear.This incision typically heals quite well and is usually well hidden near the crease between the ear and the scalp.Occasionally a small incision is made on the front of the ear.This allows for access to the face of the ear cartilage.Cartilage manipulation is occasionally performed through this 5-8 mm incision.

7.  How long does Otoplasty surgery take to perform?

Depending on the severity of the ear irregularities, surgery takes 45-60 minutes per ear.

8.  What is the post-operative care after Otoplasty surgery?

After the surgery, the discomfort is mild to moderate.Pain medication and antibiotics will be prescribed.A special protective head wrap will be applied for 24 hours.On the first post-operative day, the original head wrap will be removed.A lighter, mild compressive headband is then applied for another 1-3 days.After three or four days, the patient will be required to wear the headband only while sleeping.This is done for approximately 2 weeks in order to protect the ears from pulling while turning over in bed. 

9.  When is the best time to perform a pediatric Otoplasty?

Studies show that the best time to perform an Otoplasty is around five years old.The ear is almost its mature adult size and the cartilage is very malleable.The child will be entering school at this age.Having prominent ears tends to elicit teasing from other children.Intervening at this stage in the child’s life can preserve his or her psychological wellness. Females can grow their hair long to hide their protruding ears however males typically wear their hair short.

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