What is an Otoplasty?
Otoplasty, or surgery of the ears, is a plastic surgery procedure which can improve the appearance of large or protruding ears. During surgery, the ears can be pinned back, reshaped, reduced in size, or made more symmetrical. The goal of otoplasty is to alter the ears so that they are in proportion to the size and shape of the head and face.
Individuals who are looking to improve the appearance of large or protruding ears may be good candidates for otoplasty. The surgery may be performed on children as young as five to six years of age. Having the surgery at a young age is often recommended because the cartilage of the ears is more pliable and because the surgery can help to spare children the teasing commonly associated with large ears. While otoplasty can also be performed on adults, they must understand that the cartilage of fully developed ears is firmer and not as pliable as in younger children. As with other forms of cosmetic surgery, good health and realistic expectations are essential. During the consultation, Dr. Donath will help you to decide if otoplasty is right for you or your child.
The Otoplasty Procedure
General anesthesia is commonly used for the ear surgery when the patient is a child. Adults and older children may receive a local anesthetic and a mild sedative. Dr. Donath will begin the surgery by making an incision just behind the ear within the natural fold where the ear and head meet. Working through the incisions, certain amounts of cartilage and skin may be removed and the ear will be reshaped into a more desirable form. Permanent sutures may be used to pin back the cartilage. In some cases, cartilage may not be removed but simply reshaped and held in place with stitches. Both ears are typically treated even when only one ear appears to protrude. In most cases, ear surgery takes about two hours to complete.
Any dressings applied to the ears after surgery will be removed within a few days. Some discomfort may occur which can be controlled with prescription medication. Sleep may be disrupted for a week or so for those used to sleeping on their sides. A headband may need to be worn to hold the ears in position for about two weeks. Stitches are usually removed or dissolve on their own within about a week. The location of the incisions within a crease on the back of the ear allows the resulting scars to be imperceptible. Most patients are able to return to work or school within five to seven days after otoplasty, though rigorous activities and contact sports will be prohibited for a month or more.
*Each patient is unique and individual results may vary.
Q – What is otoplasty?
A – Otoplasty, or ear surgery, is a plastic surgery procedure designed to improve the appearance of large or protruding ears, making them more proportionate to the size and shape of the head and face. The surgery can pin back the ears, reshape them, reduce their size or make them more symmetrical.
Q – Is otoplasty right for me?
A – Individuals who are looking to improve the appearance of large or protruding ears and are physically healthy and realistic in their expectations may be good candidates for otoplasty. The surgery may be performed on children as young as five to six years of age and it is often recommended that it take place at an early age. Adults are also candidates for otoplasty, though the firmer cartilage of fully developed ears is not as pliable as in younger patients. Dr. Donath is happy to meet with you for a consultation to decide if otoplasty can best address your or your child’s needs.
Q – At what age can otoplasty be performed?
A – Otoplasty may be performed as early as five to six years of age.
Q – What happens at the consultation for otoplasty?
A – During the consultation for otoplasty, Dr. Donath will meet with you to examine your ears, discuss your goals, and take a thorough medical history. He will also take other factors into consideration such as age, skin type and attitude toward surgery to help determine if otoplasty is right for you. The technique, including the anesthesia and the surgical facility, along with the risks and the costs involved will be discussed and any questions or concerns that you have addressed.
Q – What anesthesia is otoplasty performed with?
A – Otoplasty is most commonly performed with general anesthesia when the patients is a child or with local anesthesia and mild sedation when the patient is an older child or adult.
Q – How is the surgery for otoplasty performed?
A – Dr. Donath begins the ear surgery by making incisions behind the ear where the ear and head meet. He may utilize different techniques to achieve the desired look. For instance, he may remove some cartilage and skin, reshape the ear into a more desirable shape, and then use permanent sutures to pin back the cartilages. In other cases, he may not remove any cartilage but rather reshape the cartilage using stitches to hold the new shape in place.
Q – How long is the surgical time for otoplasty?
A – Otoplasty takes an average of about two hours to perform.
Thank you for my new ears. I wore my hair up on the very first day of school. It felt great! I’ve never worn my hair down since then. My ears haven’t even been bothering me. Thank you for changing my life!
Q – Where are the otoplasty incisions made?
A – The incisions for otoplasty are made behind the ear within the crease where the ear meets the head.
Q – Will I have scars after ear surgery?
A – By making the incisions behind the ear within a skin crease, the resultant scar is very well-concealed.
Q – Does otoplasty involve much pain?
A – Some discomfort can be expected, though prescription medication can help to manage this.
Q – What is the recovery from otoplasty like?
A – Patients may experience some temporary discomfort which can including throbbing and aching of the ears. This can be controlled with prescription medication. Dressings are removed within a few days after surgery while stitches are removed or dissolve on their within about a week. Patients may be required to wear a headband for about two weeks.
Q – When will I be able to resume work after my ear surgery?
A – Work and school can usually be resumed within five to seven days after the otoplasty procedure.
Q – When will the stitches be removed after my otoplasty procedure?
A – Stitches are typically removed or dissolve on their own within seven days after the ear surgery.