Otoplasty is an effective procedure that offers an immediate improvement in appearance and boost in confidence for those with prominent or misshapen ears.
Plastic surgery can dramatically improve ears that protrude, fold down, are forward, rimless, too large, or missing natural folds and creases. Surgery can also treat large or stretched earlobes, and lobes with deep creases and wrinkles.
Ears reach their full size around five to six years of age. Parents who are concerned with the appearance of their child’s ears are encouraged to visit a plastic surgeon as early as possible. The first reason is anatomic—the cartilage is extremely pliable in young children which makes the correction easier, with less chance of recurrence. Second, the child will reap psychological benefits from the procedure during early school years and adolescence. Changes to the ears are not functional in nature, and in no way impact the patient’s hearing.
While the cartilage is stiffer and more formed in an adult man or woman, there are no greater risks associated with ear surgery for an adult and the results are quite effective.
It is important to define what features of the ear shape, size or position need to be corrected. This determines the surgical approach and what specific techniques will be used. Sometimes only one ear is of concern in which case surgery can be performed on only the affected ear to achieve the best possible symmetry. The scar, hidden within the natural crease behind the ear, will be barely visible.
My approach is highly customized to the individual. There is often a combination of maneuvers that are employed to meet the specific goals of the surgery.
Ears can be surgically altered in several ways. They can be “pinned back,” reshaped, reduced or made more symmetrical. An incision is made behind the ear in the natural fold that joins the ear to the head. The cartilage is either removed, folded or trimmed. Suture techniques are executed precisely to achieve a long lasting outcome. These techniques are highly effective in childhood since the cartilage is still soft. In an adult, the cartilage is softened using special instruments prior to placing the shaping sutures.
Once the skin and cartilage are properly shaped, permanent sutures are used to anchor the cartilage in its new position and pin the ear back as needed. With this approach, the risk of recurrence with this approach is significantly reduced and the shape holds most optimally.
Large earlobes can also be reshaped with surgery and now fillers allow for effectively treating aging lobes that are losing volume and shape or getting wrinkled.
Anesthesia: sedation or general
Length of surgery: 2 hours
Adjunct procedures: N/A
Recovery: one week