Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)
What is Cosmetic Ear Surgery?
Otoplasty or Ear plastic surgery (cosmetic ear surgery) is a procedure that has its roots in the nineteenth century, and is a popular and commonly employed technique in the twenty first century. The surgery is performed on children as well as adults and results are often very positive and long lasting.
Why choose ear correction surgery?
Ears can appear highly prominent if they lie at an angle greater than fifteen degrees from the head. Many people are unhappy with the way their ears look, and it can be a deeply personal and embarrassing problem, leading to teasing from an early age, and a lack of confidence and self-esteem. Ear alteration surgery is able to change the appearance of protruding ears and, where necessary, remould ears to a more pleasing shape. It is a relatively straightforward procedure that can often be performed as a day case, and can lead to an increase in confidence.
Is Cosmetic Ear Surgery right for me?
It’s highly important to have a full consultation with an accredited cosmetic surgeon if you are thinking about undergoing ear pinning and reshaping surgery. As with all cosmetic procedures, cosmetic ear surgery has inherent risks and limitations, and it’s vital to be personally assessed. At the consultation, the surgeon will ask you about any previous surgery you may have had, and he or she will also take a full medical history. It’s vital to be honest and open about the changes you wish to see so that your surgeon can help you formulate realistic goals for your ear surgery. Before and after pictures of successful procedures are a great way of helping you visualise the changes that will occur, and can help you communicate your needs more effectively with the surgeon.
Babies who have prominent or ‘bat’ ears may be treated by gently taping their ears to their head, or by wearing a cap. After this early stage, ears can only be treated with surgery, and it’s advisable to wait until after the child is at least four years old when the ears are 80% of their final size.
Children over 6 and adults generally respond well to ear correction, reduction and ear reshaping, and are usually pleased with the results. It’s important to remember that your ears may never be 100% symmetrical.
What happens during the cosmetic ear surgery procedure?
Generally, surgeons will make an incision behind the ear in the fold where your ear meets your head. Skin is then pulled back and the cartilage beneath is reshaped. In some cases cartilage and skin is removed for optimal results, and your surgeon will discuss your best option beforehand.
Sometimes, when local anaesthetic is used, the procedure can be viewed in a mirror. This enables you to guide your surgeon whilst he or she is repositioning and remoulding your ears, often enhancing the accuracy of results.
Ear correction surgery usually takes around an hour, and most children and adults leave the hospital on the same day, although some younger children are advised to stay overnight.
What happens after cosmetic ear surgery?
- After Ear alteration surgery, a dressing is applied and worn for a week in order to keep the ears in position as they heal.
- As the anaesthetic wears off, mild discomfort is normal and can be controlled by painkillers.
- Bruising and swelling can sometimes occur, but should fade within two weeks.
- It’s important to take extra care whilst sleeping—especially on the first night—and it is worth propping your head up on pillows to minimise movement.
- Stitches are removed within five to ten days, and in that time there may be a mild infection. Dissolvable stitches will disappear in their own time.
- Numbness can occur, and should disappear in a few weeks—but you should see your surgeon if the numbness continues.
- Sometimes small blood vessels will leak after surgery. On certain occasions this bleeding can prompt a return to theatre.
- Once the dressing is removed, it’s advisable to wear a headband for eight weeks whilst sleeping or playing contact sports in order to keep the ears in their new position.
- Your ears should ‘set in’ two months after surgery, changing their shape by one or two millimetres.
It’s important to remember that no surgery is one hundred percent safe, and you should undertake thorough research and book a full consultation before you make any final decisions regarding plastic surgery. Elf ears, pierced ears and protruding ears can be effectively dealt with if you choose the right surgeon and set yourself realistic targets.