Otoplasty also known as cosmetic ear surgery is a procedure to change the shape, position or size of the ears. You might choose to have otoplasty if you're bothered by how far your ears stick out from your head. You might also consider otoplasty if your ear or ears are misshapen due to an injury or birth defect. Otoplasty can be done at any age after the ears have reached their full size usually after age 5 through adulthood. In some cases, the surgery is done as early as age 3.
Why it's done
You might consider otoplasty if:
- Your ears are large in proportion to your head.
- Your ear or ears stick out too far from your head.
- You're dissatisfied with a previous ear surgery.
Otoplasty sometimes can be done on both ears to optimize symmetry.
How you prepare
A consultation for otoplasty
Initially, you'll talk to a plastic surgeon about otoplasty. During your first visit, your plastic surgeon will likely:
- Review your medical history. Be prepared to answer questions about current and past medical conditions, especially any ear infections. Talk about any medications you're taking or you've taken recently, as well as any surgeries you've had.
- Do a physical exam. To determine your treatment options, the doctor will examine your ears — including their placement, size, shape and symmetry. The doctor might also take pictures of your ears for your medical record.
- Discuss your expectations. Explain why you want otoplasty and what you're hoping for in terms of appearance after the procedure. Make sure you understand the risks, such as possible overcorrection.
If you're a good candidate for otoplasty, your doctor may recommend that you take some steps to prepare beforehand.
Before the procedure
Sometimes the procedure is done with sedation and local anesthesia, which numbs only part of your body. In other cases, general anesthesia which renders you unconscious may be given before your procedure.
During the procedure
Otoplasty techniques vary based on what kind of correction is needed. The specific technique your plastic surgeon chooses will determine the location of the incisions and the resulting scars.
Rehabilitation after surgery
- The patient can leave in the day of intervention.
- Bandage will be held over seven days.
- Stitches will be removed after 8 or 10 days.
- The patient feels a bit pain only the intervention day, while at other times is negligible. Strong unbearable pain is a sign of wound infection.
- The patient must do checkups the first three months in every two-three weeks. After otoplasty, your ears will be covered in bandages for protection and support.
After the procedure, you have to stay two hours in the clinic and the total recovery is after seven days. You'll likely feel some discomfort and itching. Take pain medication as recommended by your doctor. If you take pain medication and your discomfort increases, contact your doctor immediately.
- To keep pressure off your ears, avoid sleeping on your side.
- Also try not to rub or place excessive force on the incisions.
- Consider wearing button-down shirts or shirts with loosefitting collars.
- A few days after otoplasty, your doctor will remove your bandages.
- Ask your doctor when it's OK to resume daily activities, such as bathing and physical activity.
After your bandages are removed, you'll notice an immediate change in the appearance of your ears. These changes are permanent.
If you're not satisfied with your result