If you or your child have misshapen or protruding ears, the otoplasty procedure can be used to improve the appearance of many auricular deformities. Otoplasty corrects abnormalities of the structure of the ear.
Most commonly, otoplasty is performed to set back ears that stick out from the head. This procedure rotates the ears back so that they are normally positioned closer to the side of the head. This surgery can be performed on children 5 years of age and older. 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
At 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 5 days after surgery. Children should stay home from school for at least 1 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 relative to your head
- The top of your 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, cartilage and skin will be removed or altered 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 placed under local anesthesia with a sedative, whereas a child will have general anesthesia to ensure there will be no movement during the operation.
As with most surgeries, patients are not allowed to eat or drink after midnight the night before their surgery. The last meal that patients eat the night before should be very light. Patients also cannot eat or drink the morning of surgery.
Patients should wear loose and comfortable clothing to surgery. Wearing clothing that has a tight collar/neck is not advised. It is recommended that the patient wear a buttoned-down shirt so that it does not have to be pulled over the head. This is particularly important for children because you want to avoid any postoperative 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 sleep on their backs. Headbands are recommended to hold the ears in place for about 2 weeks after the head dressing is removed.
Because this is a cosmetic surgery, it is normally not covered by insurance companies.
To ensure a good recovery, be sure to follow Dr. Mirabile and Dr. Hsu’s instructions on how to take care of your dressing when you are sent home. You will wear the dressing for 1 week. You will have scars at the incision site; however, they will fade over time and 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 2 weeks and return to all of your normal activities in 6 weeks.
Otoplasty can improve your appearance and help you feel more confident. 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.