Otoplasty is a cosmetic surgery procedure that is also known as ear pinning and it is performed to correct defects or deformities in the ears. These issues with the ears might be present from birth but they can also be caused by an injury or trauma to the ears as well as being the result of a previous surgery. Otoplasty can be used to correct issues such as asymmetry of the ears, loss of skin or cartilage in the ears and overcorrection from a previous surgery. In general, the type of otoplasty method performed by the surgeon depends on the type and amount of deformity that are present in the ears. Many teens, adults and children that are five to six years of age are not happy with the appearance of their large or protruding ears so they turn to otoplasty to address the issue and get a more aesthetically pleasing look to the ears,
The first step in performing otoplasty is the creation of an incision behind the ear that will expose the cartilage. The surgeon will then remove the amount of excess skin that is necessary to achieve the desired results before the cartilage is reshaped. In addition, the ear can be repositioned (if needed) so it is closer to the head before the incision is closed. This is often the case with patients that are undergoing otoplasty because they feel their ears are protruding too far from the side of their head.
In general, the techniques used to perform otoplasty are classified into two groups:
Patients that have already had ear surgery will need to wait at least four to six months to have an additional surgery. If the scar from the first surgery has healed, the patient can go ahead and have the next surgery before four to six months have passed.
When a baby is born with ears that are overly large or protruding, patients can have a procedure known as ear molding performed while the baby is just a few weeks old. Ear molding is ideal for very young patients that have ears that have not yet unrolled or that have ears with rims that are scrunched in or unraveled. Ear molds can be created to help push the ear back into a more aesthetically pleasing shape.
The recovery time after otoplasty can vary depending on the amount of work that needed to be performed during the surgery. After the surgery is performed, the head of the patient will need to be wrapped in heavily padded cotton bandages to help facilitate the healing process. The heavy bandages can be removed after a few days but the patient will still need to wear a lighter bandage for a few additional days. After a week, a soft headband will be worn to hold the ears in in their new position as well as protect the ears. Patients can expect the ears to be swollen and bruised for a little while after the surgery. They will also need to sleep with the head elevated to minimize the swelling.
Patients can return to work a week after the otoplasty surgery. The full recovery period is generally four to six weeks and patients will be given post-op instructions to follow to ensure a healthy recovery. It is important to follow these instructions as the ears can revert to their previous shape if the post-op instructions are not properly followed.
Otoplasty results start to become visible once some of the bruising and swelling goes down. This can happen as early as two weeks after the surgery but patients can expect an improvement in the results for up to a year after otoplasty is performed. The final results of otoplasty are considered to be permanent.
The cost of otoplasty depends on the technique used by the cosmetic surgeon, any fees charged by the doctor or the facility and the amount of work that needs to be performed on the ears. In general, the cost is anywhere from $3000-$7000.
Some of the most common risks of otoplasty include:
Adults that are looking to make a change in the appearance of their ears, as well as parents that have newborns with large ears, should schedule a consultation appointment with a board-certified cosmetic surgeon that is experienced in performing otoplasty. The surgeon can examine the ears of the patient to determine if the appropriate amount of skin and cartilage can be removed or molded to provide the person with the desired appearance to the ears with this cosmetic ear surgery.