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Ear Reshaping - Otoplasty

Home » Face » Face Treatments » Ear Reshaping - Otoplasty

Otoplasty (cosmetic ear surgery or ear reshaping) oto stands for ear and plasty stands for molding/surgical repair. This cosmetic ear surgery is performed to reshape, reconstruct, or replace a deformed, defective or missing external ear (pinna). Otoplasty is mainly of two types:

  1. Cosmetic otoplasty: The ear pinning surgery or otopexy where a large ear or extruding ears are "pinned" back towards the patient's head.

  2. Reconstructive otoplasty: A surgery to develop the outer ear after injury or ear augmentation to correct severe congenital defects of the ear like Microtia or Anotia. Other congenital defects of the ear such as Cagot Ear, Cat's Ear, Scroll Ear, Lop-Ear and Wildermuth's Ear can also be corrected.

Ear reduction surgery is performed when the pinna is too big, a condition known as Macrotia.

Otoplasty can be carried out at any age after the ears have reached their standard size which is usually after the age of 5 years old. If a child is born with prominent ears or other ear-shape problems then splinting may successfully correct these issues if started immediately after birth.

Am I a Candidate for Otoplasty or ear reshaping?

Anatomically we should have prominent ears that bend forward and down.

Most patients that undergo the surgery are between the age of 4 and 14 years old.

Candidates for ear reshaping can be adults as well as children. With adults, it is important to know that the ear is fully developed, and will not remold after surgery as easily as the softer cartilage which children have.

In the case of children, the following factors are very important to discuss with the surgeon prior to the surgery:

  • Skin type

  • Skin healing rates

  • Ethnic background

  • Age

Timing is always an important consideration for ear reshaping for children. Having the procedure at a young age is best because the cartilage is very pliable and reshapes more easily, as previously mentioned.

The Procedure

At Aesthetic Beauty Centre (link here to site home page) ear pinning and ear reshaping surgery are usually performed under a local anesthetic with a sedative for adults and general anesthesia for children.

Ear pinning combines removing the skin from the back of the ear, cartilage sparing and scoring with nonabsorbable mattress pull back sutures. This combination of techniques helps the surgeon to construct the ideal shape and better positioning of the patient’s ears.

Thus there are mainly two different techniques used to perform ear pinning or ear reshaping during otoplasty:

Cartilage sparing: In this technique, a surgeon uses stitches and sutures to change the ear’s position and shape. A cartilage sparing otoplasty surgery is non-invasive, often resulting in smooth, natural-looking curvatures.

Cartilage scoring: In this technique, a surgeon creates incisions(cuts) in the cartilage to rearrange, add, or remove the tissue. There is a greater risk of scarring when this technique is used, but those scars are difficult to see.

In both cases, your surgeon will begin by making a small incision at the back of your ear, allowing access the cartilage for the necessary procedure. After the surgery is complete, the cartilage is then reshaped and excess skin is removed. Finally, if necessary, the ear is repositioned more closely to the head, before the incision site is secured with stitches. Once the otoplasty surgery is complete, the patient's head will be wrapped with special heavily-padded cotton bandages, referred to as "fluff bandages", for healing. The actual surgery will last about 2-3 hours, depending on the complexity of the procedure for your particular case.

In the case of reconstructive otoplasty, cartilage can be removed from the patient’s ribs to augment the ear and help it to gain a more natural look. If a skin graft is necessary, the tissue is usually transferred from the patient’s upper buttock area.

Downtime and Recovery -

For a few days after surgery, the patient can remove the fluff bandages, but we recommend wearing a lighter bandage for another few days. Approximately one week following the procedure, all bandages can be removed. To heal properly we recommend the following aftercare:

  • Patients should avoid vigorous activity or any activities that could impact the ears until completely healed. This is particularly important to remember for young children: they should not play or overexert themselves.

  • Patients should not wash their hair with shampoo for up to one week after the surgery.

  • Patients must try not to sleep on their side during recovery.

Risks and complications -

Patients generally experience some side effects, like temporary swelling or discomfort immediately following the procedure. There are risks of bleeding and infection as with any surgical procedure. More serious risks can be caused by an inexperienced surgeon. Choosing a qualified and experienced cosmetic surgeon greatly decreases these risks.

The Otoplasty Result -

Otoplasty gives immediate results in cases of protruding ears, the outcome of which can be seen once the dressings, that support the new shape of the ear during initial phases of healing, are removed. As the ears after surgery are permanently positioned closer to the head, surgical scars are either hidden behind the ear or in the natural creases of the ear. The outcome of more extensive cosmetic otoplasty and reconstructive otoplasty may appear in stages over time.The patient can return to school or work within a week of the surgery. Regular activity and exercise can restart within two weeks. If you're unsatisfied with your results, ask your surgeon about the possibility of revision surgery.

The goal of otoplasty is to surgically correct protruding or deformed ears. Otoplasty will not alter hearing ability. What is important for successful otoplasty is that the ears align in proportion to the size and shape of the face and head.

At Aesthetic Beauty Centre, your progress is reviewed on a regular basis through appointments with your surgeon, Dr Ashish Dutta. But if you have any queries in the meantime, you can rely on telephone support.

Qualified doctors and nurses will discuss the procedure before any treatment, explaining any possible side effects.

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