What is an Otoplasty?
An otoplasty is a cosmetic procedure used to correct the shape, position, or size of the ears. We usually refer to it as a cosmetic ear surgery. Still, these serve as umbrella terms. They denote a group of different procedures that all address different cosmetic issues.
What Can an Otoplasty Address?
Patients who may benefit from an otoplasty generally fall into five distinct categories. They tend to have one or more of the items below:
- Underdeveloped ears.
- Over-sized ears.
- Protruding ears.
- Unsymmetrical or misshapen ears.
- Physical trauma resulting in any of the above conditions.
All of these are considered cosmetic conditions. But, given the importance of facial features to human societies, it would be inappropriate to underplay the potential value of an otoplasty. As a result, many patients receive an otoplasty as children. Experts do suggest waiting until a child has reached the age of five to ensure that the ear is physically developed, but you can have the procedure at any point after that.
How Does an Otoplasty Work?
The method your doctor at Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery uses will depend entirely on the current condition of your ears. One of the most common forms of otoplasty reduces the appearance of protruding ears. The common name for it is “ear-pinning.” However, the actual procedure doesn’t “pin” your ears.
There are some cases where the surgeon can use a few sutures near the base of the ear to pull the cartilage closer to the head. Still, in many cases, your surgeon will need to remove some skin and cartilage from the back of the ear. Then they stitch it back together with permanent sutures to ensure a more normal appearance.
Variations in Technique
Other otoplasty surgeries will have some variation to address the patient’s specific concerns. But, the incisions will almost always be made along the back of the ear. Specifically, they are near where it attaches to the rest of the head. If your situation requires changes to the cartilage at the front of the ear, then your surgeon will hide the incisions in the ear’s natural folds.
If you are one of the few individuals who have overly small ears, then the surgery is slightly more complicated. Your surgeon will need to take cartilage from elsewhere or use a plastic implant to increase the size and shape of your ear. Given that these surgeries are much more involved, you will want to consider every option with your surgeon.
What to Expect During Cosmetic Ear Surgery?
Unless the surgery is being performed on a small child, your surgeon is unlikely to use general anesthesia. Instead, they will typically apply a local anesthetic to numb the ear and surrounding area. Additionally, they may also administer a light sedative to make sure you stay still and calm throughout the procedure. Either way, you should make sure you have someone to drive you home after the procedure, which lasts two to three hours.
After the surgery, expect to be on some light pain medication. Avoid medications like aspirin with blood-thinning qualities. You will need to wear bandages over your ears for a few days. Then you get a light, protective headband. During this period, you should refrain from touching your ears unless you’re replacing your bandages.
After about two weeks, you can go back to life as usual. Still, Medical News Today’s professionally reviewed article does suggest that contact sports or any other activity that could result in trauma to the ear should be avoided for at least three months.