If you or your child have misshapen or protruding ears, the otoplasty procedure can be used to correct many auricular deformities. Otoplasty is the surgery to correct abnormalities of the structure of the ear.
Most commonly, otoplasty is performed to set back ears that stick out from their head. This procedure rotates the ears back so that they are normally positioned against the side of the head. This surgery can be performed on children as of five years of age. The earlier the surgery is done, the better. The surgery will protect the child from future embarrassment because of their ears and any teasing that might occur from other children. Adults also undergo this surgery frequently.
Planning For surgery
In your consultation, you will be able to discuss all your expectations with your plastic surgeon. Together, you can decide which option is best for you or your child. You should plan to stay home for at least five days after the surgery. Children should stay home from school for at least one week and limit their activities.
You might consider otoplasty if:
- Your ear or ears stick out too far from your head
- Your ears are large in proportion to your head
- The top of the ear folds downward
- You were born without an ear or lost an ear from trauma
Understanding the Surgery
An incision will be made on the back side of the ear. Next he will remove or alter the cartilage and skin so that the appearance of the ear is improved. In some instances, Dr. Mirabile or Dr. Hsu will trim and shape the cartilage into a more desirable shape and then pin it back to the head. In other cases no cartilage will need to be removed and sutures can be used to bend the cartilage into a more visually pleasing position. After the desired ear shape and position are achieved, a head dressing will be placed to protect the new ear position.
How do I prepare for an otoplasty?
Adults normally are put under local anesthesia with a sedative, where as a child will get general anesthesia, to ensure there will be no movement during the operation.
As with most surgeries, the patient is not allowed to eat or drink after midnight the night before their surgery. The last meal the patient eats the night before should be very light. The patient also cannot eat or drink the morning of surgery.
The patient should wear loose and comfortable clothing to surgery. Clothing that has a tight collar is not allowed. It is recommended that the patient wear a button down shirt so that it doesn’t have to be pulled over their head. This is far more important for children because you want to avoid any post- operative injury to the surgical site.
This surgery does not require you to stay overnight; you may go home the same day. Be sure to have someone with you who will be able to drive you home and stay with you the night of your surgery.
What to Expect After the Surgery
A soft dressing will be placed on the ears and remain there for a few days. Patients should expect some mild discomfort. Sleeping patterns may be altered if you are accustomed to sleeping on your side. No pressure can be placed on the ears; patients must to sleep on their backs. Headbands are recommended to hold the ears in place for about two weeks after the head dressing is removed.
Because this is a cosmetic surgery, it is normally not covered by insurance companies. If you are using this surgery to correct birth defects or traumatic injuries you may be reimbursed.
To ensure a good recovery, be sure to follow Dr. Mirabile and Dr. Hsu’s instructions on how to take care of your dressing that is on your ears when you are sent home. You will wear the dressing for one week. You will have scars at the incision site; however, these will fade over time and they will be hard to notice because of the placement of the incision.
After about a week, adults are able to return to work. You will begin exercise at two weeks and return to all of your normal activities by week six.
Otoplasty can improve your appearance and help you feel more self-confidence. Learn more about this advanced procedure by calling 610-272-8821 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mirabile or Dr. Hsu, premier plastic surgeons treating patients from throughout Philadelphia, Bucks County, Montgomery County, Chester County and Delaware County.