Otoplasty, a term used for ear surgery, is a procedure used to bring protruding ears closer to the head and to correct ear deformities. Also known as ear pinning, ear surgery appears to pin the ears back against the patient’s head. It is usually performed on children after age five as well as adults.
Several causes lead to ear deformities. Common deformities include cup ear, lop ear and cauliflower ear.
Cup ears is the term used for patients with outer ear parts that develop asymmetrically or irregularly, which causes a protruding, cup-shaped ear.
Lop ear, also known as bat ear, is used for patients with the concha – inner part of the external ear – that grows in a right angle to the head, rather than parallel to it.
Cauliflower ears are used when a patient’s ear condition is caused by inflammation or injuries.
An ear surgery can correct these deformities permanently.
Also Known As: Otoplasty, Ear pinning, Pinnaplasty Cosmetic Ear Surgery
Benefits of Ear Surgery
An ear surgery can benefit people with protruding ear caused by undeveloped middle fold of the ear and other deformities.
An ear surgery can benefit patients wishing to reshape their ears, reduce the ear size, make their ears symmetrical and adjust the ears closer to the head.
An ear surgery can result in more balanced and attractive ears that are proportion to the overall facial appearance.
The Ear Surgery Procedure
Anesthesia used for ear surgery may depend on the age of the patient. For younger children, the doctor may advise on using general anesthesia in order for the child to sleep through the entire operation. However, local anesthesia combined with sedatives is used for older children and adults, which gives the patient a relaxed feeling, even when awake.
The duration of the ear surgery will largely depend on the technique used in the procedure. However, common ear surgeries without complications may take about two to three hours.
With the doctor’s preferred technique, a small incision is made in the back of the ear in order to expose the cartilage. The cartilage is then sculpted and bent back towards the head. Usually, the doctor removes a large piece of cartilage, resulting to a more natural fold after the surgery.
If the ear lobe is asymmetrical or overly elongated, ear tissue may be trimmed to provide a more balanced appearance.
Another technique used in ear surgery involves the incision in the back of the ear without removing cartilage. The skin is removed and stitches are then used for folding the cartilage back to reshape the ear.
Recovery After Ear Surgery Procedure
Immediately after the ear surgery, the patient’s ears are held in place by using soft bandages or a headband for a duration of two weeks.
Since you will experience swelling and pain, medications for pain will be prescribed in order to alleviate discomfort.
Patients, both children and adults, should elevate their heads during the first few nights after their ear surgery.
Avoid activities that may affect the ears for about six weeks. Strenuous activities should also be prevented for about four weeks after surgery.
Stitches will be removed a week or two after ear surgery, at which point the ears will be too close to the skull. After several weeks, the ears will adjust to the proportionally correct position.
The fading of scars may take several months to heal. However, since the incision is hidden behind the ears, makeup may not be necessary.
Although after surgery, the healing process may take some time, the end results are really worth the wait.
Ear surgery reduces the size and prominence of one or both ears. The results of the surgery are long lasting and permanent.
Surgical facility And Cost
The ear surgery procedure is usually performed in a surgical suite, office-based facility, surgery center, or hospital as an outpatient basis. Within a few hours after the surgery, the patient may go home. However, children who underwent ear surgery are recommended to spend the night at the hospital.
The costs for ear surgery vary depending on factors such as surgeon/doctor, technique used, location and complexity of each case.
The average surgery fee for otoplasty is around $2,500. However, this fee does not cover anesthesia, hospital stay, operating room facility and other related expenses.
Ear surgery is not usually covered by health insurance since it is considered cosmetic surgery. However, it can be qualified when the cases are from injuries, birth deformities or diseases.
Side Effects, Risks, Complications and Contradictions
Although complications are rare, some patients may experience infection, blood clots, fever, excessive swelling and trauma to the area treated. When any of this happens, immediately contact your doctor.
Like any surgery, otoplasty also has risks. Some patients may experience a change in skin sensation, ear trauma, skin contour irregularities, face asymmetry, overcorrection of ears, keloid development, hematoma, ear cartilage infection and loosening of sutures.