Oversized or protruding ears can be corrected via cosmetic ear reshaping surgery, also known as otoplasty. Unlike most plastic surgery patients, many otoplasty patients are children. The youngest age for this surgery is 6 years old. The two primary advantages to performing ear surgery on children are that they can avoid years of teasing or bullying because of the appearance of their ears, and their ear cartilage (the supporting tissue) is much more pliable, and thus easier to mold. However, this surgery can be performed in an adult age. Dr. Guyuron is an experienced otoplasty surgeon who treats both adults and children at his Ohio plastic surgery practice.
The Otoplasty Consultation
The goals of the otoplasty consultation are:
- Discuss the patient’s desired outcome
- Evaluate whether the procedure is appropriate for the candidate’s needs
- Ensure that the patient understands the surgery and what it entails
With young patients, Dr. Guyuron wants to make sure they are not only physically, but also psychologically ready for surgery. Young candidates should be able to communicate their feelings, cooperate and follow instructions.
It’s important to Dr. Guyuron that all of his patients are well-educated about surgery and can make informed decisions about their treatment and care. Dr. Guyuron explains all aspects of the procedure, including how to prepare and what to expect during recovery, and answers questions about potential risks.
The Otoplasty Procedure
Otoplasty is usually performed on an outpatient basis, and medications are administered to keep the patient comfortable during surgery. The length of surgery depends on the patient and on average takes about an hour for both ears.
If Dr. Guyuron is reducing oversized ears, he will make an incision in the natural fold behind the ear, where the ear meets the head. Through the incision, he will remove a small piece of the excessive cartilage and reshape the cartilage to bring the ear into better proportion with the rest of the head. If need be, he may pin the ear closer to the head with a permanent suture. Excess skin is also removed.
The surgical steps will vary if Dr. Guyuron is repairing a deformity in the ear.
Recovering from Otoplasty
The ears will be mildly swollen and bruised after surgery. Any pain can be controlled with oral medication. It’s important not to put any pressure on the ears, so patients may need to sleep in a different position or wear a headband or soft dressings around the head for protection. Patients are advised to rest as much as possible in the days following surgery, avoiding any vigorous activities and contact sports which could result in trauma to the healing ears, usually three weeks. Dr. Guyuron will provide more detailed recovery instructions and recommend when it is safe to return to school, work and normal activities.