Otoplasty is a medical terminology where “oto” refers to ears and “plasty” means molding or forming. It is a surgical procedure used to improve the position, shape, and size of the ears.
Otoplasty or ear surgery is a type of plastic surgery that is used when the shape of the ears is deformed, unequal, or abnormally large in size. The outcome of this procedure largely depends on the requirements of the person.
However, it is mostly performed for cosmetic purpose so that it ‘’pins’’ or reshapes the ear back and make them look less protruded. It helps reduce the size of abnormally enlarged ears size (macrotia) as well.
The cosmetic goal of ear surgery is correction, modification, and improvement of the shape, size, or position of one or both the ears. The indications for otoplasty include:
$2,000 to $4,400
The procedure and technique largely depend on the demand of the individual. Based on specific requirements, the location (behind the ear or inside the ear) and size of the incision, and possible resultant scarring are determined by the cosmetic surgeon.
The incision is made and the extra skin and cartilage are separated followed by folding and positioning of that cartilage by means of internal stitches. Finally, the initial cut is stitched by the surgeon in order to get the desired outcome.
The whole procedure is carried out under anesthesia (either local or general) and usually takes no more than 2 to 3 hours.
A thorough medical assessment and evaluation must be performed before the procedure which may include:
Following the procedure, the surgeon will cover the stitched part of the whole ear with a dressing for support and protection. The patient may experience some pain, uneasiness, or itching post-surgery.
The doctor will prescribe certain pain medications to relieve the symptoms. However, if pain persists, consult the physician immediately.
The doctor will advise you not to sleep in a side-lying position to avoid pressure and force on the incised area. Also, to avoid discomfort, prefer putting on a buttoned or loose collar shirt.
Refrain from any activity that might put pressure on the ears until the dressing is removed.
The dressing will be removed after a few days when the incision is likely to be healed. Some stitches must be removed by the surgeon and some can dissolve on its own.
The patient may experience swelling and redness in the ears after the removal of the bandages. A loose headband is then recommended to wear for 2 to 6 weeks at least, at night to cover the ears.
Keep proper follow-ups with the physician and never miss appointments. Any abnormal sign or symptom must be immediately informed. Ask the doctor about the do’s and don’ts in your daily activities to promote faster healing.
A general recovery time after otoplasty is 5 to 7 days to return to college or work and no less than1 to 3 months for sports or strenuous ventures.
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Like other surgical procedures, otoplasty also carry side effects and the risk of developing an adverse reaction. The surgeon will brief you on the possible risks of the surgery prior to this procedure. The patient must ask and clarify all queries during the doctor consultation phase, before consenting to a ear surgery.
The potential risks associated with otoplasty might include:
The side effects often resolve on their own and are not considered a medical emergency, including:
Even though these complications are the most frequently observed, the exact reactions may vary from patient to patient.
Who are the best candidates for otoplasty?
Otoplasty or ear surgery is a relatively safe surgical procedure with small chances of failure. The most suitable candidates are children ranging from 4 to 14 years of age or young healthy adults.
Ear problems such as lop ear, shell ear, and cupped ear are often corrected and treated with otoplasty.
Will the results be permanent?
In most cases, yes, the results are permanent and they are instantly noticeable. However, if the patient is not satisfied with the outcomes, a follow-up surgery might be required to re-correct or modify the changes.
Will this procedure affect my hearing?
Otoplasty merely focuses on the physical structure of the outer ear which can be seen with naked eyes. Since the main goal is cosmetic correction and modification, hence hearing ability is not compromised. Only outer ear contour is altered and no inner structures of the ears are incised.
The frequently modified areas during the surgery are mainly the tops and size of the ear, outer ear cartilage, and occasionally the ear lobes. Therefore, hearing loss is very unlikely to happen as an outcome of this ear surgery.
Why do I have prominent ears?
Prominent or protruded ears are a common cause of otoplasty. The two main reasons your ears look protruded are:
What is the best age for someone to undergo an Otoplasty?
Otoplasty refers to cosmetic reshaping and resizing of the outer ear. In contrast to other plastic surgeries, otoplasty can be performed on adults, teenagers as well as children aged above 5. This is because around this age, most children develop an adult size ear.
The main goal of this ear surgery is to correct or modify any visible abnormality to fit in society without being bullied and criticized.
How Long Is the Recovery Period?
Even though the desired physical results can be seen as soon as the bandages are removed, it is recommended to complete the recovery period to avoid any complications.
The recovery time ranges from 4 to 6 weeks for children and adults. Activities of daily living can be continued following a week of surgery, such as returning to school or work. However, vigorous physical and recreational activities must be avoided until fully recovered. Please consult your doctor for more information.