Altering the Ears - Otoplasty Info You Need

Posted February 25, 2021
Altering the ears with otoplasty

If you are not happy with the size or shape of your ears, otoplasty is a cosmetic surgery option to help you gain the appearance to your ears that you desire. During otoplasty surgery, the plastic surgeon can make the desired changes to the size, shape or position of the ears. There are some patients that feel their ears are too big or that they stick out too far from the head. Others want to have otoplasty in order to correct some sort of trauma or structural abnormality to the ears. If you fall into any of these categories, take a look below to learn more about otoplasty and the ear shaping changes it can make to the overall look of your ears.

Otoplasty Explained

Otoplasty is also known as cosmetic ear surgery and it is performed on the visible area of the outer ear. This area of the ear is called the auricle. The auricle will begin to develop before you are born and it will continue to develop after you are born. If the auricle does not experience proper development after you are born, otoplasty is an option to provide your ears with the desired size, shape or position on the head.

When it comes to the performance of otoplasty on one or both of the ears, there are several options that the surgeon can choose from to change their size, shape or look:

  • Ear Augmentation – There are some people that have ears that are small in size or they have not fully developed. For these patients, they can have otoplasty to increase the size of the outer ear.
  • Ear Reduction – If your ears are larger than normal, this is known as macrotia. Patients that suffer from macrotia want to reduce the overall size of their ears.
  • Ear Pinning – This is an otoplasty surgery that is performed to place the ears closer to the head on patients with ears that greatly stick out from the side of the head.

During a typical otoplasty procedure, the surgeon will make a small cut at the back of the ear, or inside the folds of the ears, in order to easily access the cartilage in the targeted area. If the surgeon is reducing the size of the ears, excess or unwanted cartilage and skin will be removed to give the ears a smaller look that is also more natural in appearance. Any incisions will be closed using stitches.

In order to augment the ears, the surgeon can use a synthetic material that can be shaped into part of an ear. The synthetic material is covered with a skin graft that is taken from the body of the patient. The surgeon can also use cartilage, which is removed from elsewhere on the body of the patient, and attach it to the ear. As time passes, the cartilage will fuse with the ear and it will not be rejected by the body since it comes from the actual patient.

Ideal Otoplasty Patients

Patients that are good candidates for otoplasty include kids that are made fun of by others because of the look and size of their ears. In addition, adults that are not happy with the appearance of their ears can have the procedure to gain improved self-esteem and happiness with the look of their ears. Newborn babies can have their ears reshaped with molds. Children can start having the procedure when they are around six or seven years old. There is no age limit for adults that want to have otoplasty.

Otoplasty Recovery

After an otoplasty procedure, the surgeon will place a dressing over your ears. Once the dressing is removed, a headband will need to be worn to completely cover the ears. The headband is necessary to protect the ears and keep them in place. The headband provides the necessary protection in case you bump your ears into an object.  You will likely need to wear the headband all day and night for a few weeks and then only at night for about four to six weeks. It is also a good idea to wear button-up shirts while wearing the headband so you don’t have to worry about injuring your ears.

You should also avoid scratching or touching your ears after the surgery. Do not sleep on your side when you go to bed as this can damage the results from the surgery.

Otoplasty Risks

Common otoplasty risks that you might experience after the surgery include:

  • Swelling
  • Tingling in the ears
  • Bruising
  • Sore and tender ears
  • Itchy ears
  • Numbness
  • Infection
  • Asymmetrical results
  • Scarring at the incision site

Otoplasty Consultation Appointment

The decision to have otoplasty is a personal one and should not be entered into lightly. Schedule a consultation appointment with a board-certified doctor that is experienced in performing otoplasty on patients of all ages and genders. The surgeon can examine your ears to determine if you are an ideal otoplasty candidate and also provide you realistic expectations about the type of results you can expect to see.

- MA


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