Ear reshaping, also known as otoplasty (or ear pinning or prominent ear correction), is a surgical procedure to reshape the ear, makingyour ears less prominent or making them appear more symmetrical. For unknown reasons, one or both ears of some individuals protrude further than normal from the head. This is usually a result of the failure of one of the folds of the ear cartilage to fully develop. A variety of different techniques and approaches may be used to reshape congenital prominence in the ears or to restore damaged ears. Each individual seeking otoplasty is unique both in terms of the appearance of their ears and expectations for results following otoplasty surgery. The cornerstone of management of prominent ears is to individualize treatment to your specific circumstances and goals and to ensure that you have an adequate understanding of the issues involved so that you are able to make a fully informed decision.It is important that you fully discuss your expectations realistically prior to surgery.

The Best Candidates For Ear Surgery:
The best candidates for ear surgery (otoplasty) are children between the ages of four and 14, although surgery can be done on adults as well. One reason to have the procedure at an earlier age is so that there is less teasing and self-esteem problems. One must wait until he/she is at least four years old, because that is when the ear is finished growing.

The Procedure:
Ear surgery usually takes about two to three hours, although complicated procedures may take longer. The technique will depend on the problem. It is performed usually under general anaesthesia in the operating room as a day procedure.

With one of the more common techniques, the surgeon makes a small incision in the back of the ear to expose the ear cartilage. A small incision may be made in front of the ear as well. He will then sculpt the cartilage and bend it back toward the head. Non-removable stitches may be used to help maintain the new shape. Occasionally, the surgeon will remove a larger piece of cartilage to provide a more natural-looking fold when the surgery is complete. In most cases, ear surgery will leave a faint scar in the back of the ear that will fade with time.

Planning Your Surgery:
In your initial consultation, the surgeon will evaluate your (or your child’s) health as well as determine the best technique for ear surgery. Be sure to tell your surgeon if you smoke, and if you're taking any medications, vitamins, or other drugs. Be frank in discussing your expectations. The surgeon will determine whether or not you are a good candidate as well as describe your alternatives and the risks and limitations of each. He will also review type of anesthesia, hospital stay, and recovery during your consultation. If you have specific questions please feel free to ask.

Preparing For Your Surgery:
Following your consultation, you will be given specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins, and medications. It is important that if anything in your health history changes to notify the office. If you smoke, plan to quit at least two months before your surgery and not to resume for at least two months after your surgery. If you develop a cold or infection of any kind, your surgery will probably be postponed. Again it is very important to notify the office if you have been unable to quit smoking or if you develop an illness. Whether your surgery is done on an outpatient or inpatient basis, you should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery, and to help you out for a day or two after you leave the hospital.

After Your Surgery:
Your head will be wrapped in a bandage immediately after surgery. This will help healing and the ear shape. You're likely to feel some pain and discomfort which can be controlled by medication. Depending on the extent of the surgery, you may be released within a few hours or you may have to remain hospitalized overnight. You will be given detailed post-operative instructions including those regarding showering and changing your dressings. Usually the bulky dressing can be changed within a few days and it will be replaced by a garment that wraps around the head covering the ears. This will continue to help mold and heal the surgical site.

Getting Back To Normal:
Most people are able to return to work/school in about a week. If external sutures are used, they can be removed in 5-7 days. It is important to avoid any activity that would bend the ear for 1-2 months following surgery. You may be required to wear a headband at night for several weeks after the surgery.

Your New Look:
Ear surgery provides great results if you have realistic expectations. The goal of this surgery is improvement, not perfection. Please discuss the procedure fully with your surgeon as well as what results you can expect.

Risks and Considerations:

  • Every surgical procedure carries some risk. Potential complications may include reactions to anaesthesia, blood accumulation that may need to be drained surgically, and infection.
  • You may experience some swelling and bruising around the ears. The bruising will disappear in one or two weeks, and the swelling will disappear completely after a couple of months.
  • There may be some minor irregularities, asymmetries or imperfections
  • Although scarring is usually hidden behind the ear fold, a small percentage of patients may develop thickened scars.
  • You can reduce your risk of complications by closely following the surgeon’s instructions before and after the surgery, especially with regard to when and how you should resume physical activity.

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