What is an Otoplasty?
An otoplasty is a surgical procedure that addresses issues with the size, shape, and/or position of the ear/s.
Examples of ear problems that can be helped with surgery, including the following:
- Lop ear - when the tip of the ear folds down and forward.
- Cupped ear - a very small ear.
- Shell ear - when the curve in the outer rim, as well as the natural folds and creases, are missing.
- Large or stretched earlobes
- Lobes with large creases and wrinkles
- Surgeons can even build new ears for those who were born without them or who lost them through injury.
Am I a good candidate for an Otoplasty?
- If you are concerned that your baby may have irregularly shaped ears, you may be able to avoid surgery and instead, have a plastic surgeon create a mold for your baby to wear. This ear mold will hopefully gradually correct the shape of your child’s ears. This approach is for mild deformities and is best assessed by a board-certified plastic surgeon. If the irregularity is too severe, you will have to wait until your child’s ear matures which is usually around the age of 5 years old. Depending on the issue, however, earlier surgical intervention may be beneficial.
- If you have prominent ears that stick out too much this may be due to the presence of underdeveloped or absent folds in the ears. Typically, this can be corrected with a single surgery. An otoplasty can also improve the appearance of misshapen ears due to an acquired or congenital deformity. It can also improve the size of ears that are too large or too small. Irregularities in position and symmetry between both ears can also be corrected.
- Minimal to no pain is typical. Pain is managed with over the counter and prescription medications
- You will have bandages wrapped around your head to ensure correct positioning and protection of your new ears. You must keep this on for the instructed period. Each case is different and a hard copy of instructions will be provided to you.
- Swelling is expected and is worst 72 hours after surgery. Intermittent cold compresses for the first 72 hours followed by warm compress is suggested.
- Swelling is significantly improved by day 7 after surgery.
- Most patients return to school and/or work 10 days after surgery.
- If nonabsorbable sutures are used, these are removed in clinic 5-7 days after surgery.
- Typically, it takes 12 months for your ears to fully heal. You can expect the vast majority of the swelling to be diminished by 3 months.
Possible Risks with an Otoplasty
- Blood clots on the ears
- Infection in the cartilage, which can cause formation of scar tissue