Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)
Plastic surgery involving the ears, also called otoplasty, is used to improve the size, shape, or symmetry of the ears. Injury or birth defects are common reasons for seeking otoplasty, as well as minor abnormalities like protruding ears. Incisions are made in the outer and/or inner ear, the cartilage is shaped to the desired look and internal stitches are used to hold the newly shaped cartilage in place.
Because of the variety of causes, there are a vast number of techniques used, each tailored specifically for different situations. The best approach will be determined for you by your existing ear structure, the condition of your skin, and the goals you and Dr. Loghmanee or Dr. Cerio discuss.
Am I a good candidate for ear surgery?
One or more of the following may indicate you are a good candidate for ear surgery;
- You are in good health, and are at least 5 years of age (cartilage has stabilized)
- You are bothered by the shape or size of your ear
- The overall size of your ears are too large or small in relation to your other facial features
- Your ears are abnormally shaped or have visible defects
- Your ears are not symmetrical
- Your ears protrude outward from your head
- You have previous injury to your ear causing any of the aforementioned conditions
Dr. Loghmanee or Dr. Cerio will conduct an examination and discuss with you your expected outcome and determine whether your desires can realistically be achieved. You must come prepared to discuss your full medical history, including any medical conditions, previous surgeries or treatments, drug allergies, current medications, and use of alcohol, tobacco or illegal substances.
Medical conditions: This procedure is not recommended for those with diabetes, heart problems, or a weak immune system. These factors can complicate surgery and interfere with optimal recovery.
Expectations: It is important that while ear surgery will improve your appearance, it is not for those seeking unrealistic perfection. You must have clear goals in mind when considering this procedure. It must be for your happiness, and not to please others. Please remember that everyone’s ears are not naturally perfectly identical or symmetrical and surgery will not achieve this.
Surgery and Recovery
Ear surgery is usually an outpatient surgery, performed with general anesthesia or local anesthesia and sedation. After a few hours to one day recovery you will be permitted to go home. Your incisions will be wrapped in gauze dressings, and may itch but it is extremely important to leave bandages on. You will be given detailed information from Dr. Loghmanee or Dr. Cerio detailing normal symptoms, signs of complication and instructions for recovery.
You should be able to walk immediately following surgery and will be up and about within a day or two after surgery. Your ears may be tender to the touch for the first few days, and you must avoid straining, bending, lifting, and other strenuous activity for several days. You may be required to wear supportive garments at night to aid in healing. Stitches, if not absorbable, are removed within about a week. Bruising will occur, but typically resolves itself within two weeks. Swelling is most prominent in the first two days post surgery and greatly improves within two weeks but it may take several weeks for all swelling to clear. Numbness may occur but usually resolves within several months as the underlying structures heal. Dr. Loghmanee or Dr. Cerio will recommend follow up visits to evaluate your healing process. It is important to follow your doctor’s orders for the best outcome.