Otoplasty is a popular cosmetic ear surgery that is used to reposition, re-size and/or re-shape the ears. Otoplasty surgery is commonly used to correct protruding or misshapen ears, and it can be performed on both children and adults. The main purpose of otoplasty is to fix abnormalities that are present in the structure of the ear. In some cases, otoplasty is also called “ear pinning” or pinback otoplasty. The procedure is best for children between the ages 4 to 14, but is also common among adults.
The surgery is used less frequently for adults because they’ve likely already endured all of the teasing that an ear abnormality can provoke. However, it’s important to realize that otoplasty isn’t just for protruding ears. It can also be used to correct problems such as shell ear, lop ear or abnormally large earlobes.
There are several reasons that might compel you to consider otoplasty. When it comes to your overall appearance, every part of your face plays a role in your overall facial symmetry and aesthetics, and a single abnormality can have a dramatic impact on the appearance of your face. Both the size and shape of your ears are important factors in facial balance and can work with your appearance or against it.
One of the greatest benefits of otoplasty is the procedure’s flexibility: it can be used to correct a number of different ear problems. The greatest benefit you can get from the procedure is an enhanced appearance, which offers a number of positive emotional benefits.
When compared with alternative treatments, otoplasty is considered to be quite safe. In fact, ear surgery is one of the safest types of surgeries that can be performed. Most patients who elect to undergo ear surgery are very happy with the results of the procedure.
If you have ear abnormalities, then you’ve probably faced some amount of teasing or ridicule over the years. Ear surgery can correct any abnormalities and help renew your self-confidence.
Although individual results are highly dependent on the skill of the surgeon and patients’ individual expectations, the overall success rate for ear surgery is high, and the majority of patients achieve satisfactory results.
If you are interested in otoplasty for yourself or your child, you will first have a consultation with Dr. Alvarez. This will help you decide whether or not the surgery is a good option for you. You’ll first discuss your goals for the procedure, and Dr. Alvarez will go over your options for surgery with you. During your consultation meeting, you’ll also have your candidacy assessed, and get an opportunity to ask questions. The consultation is important for planning your surgery, and it’s a valuable opportunity to get to know Dr. Alvarez.
Ear surgery is a cosmetic procedure, and it can be used to alter the proportion, position or size of your ears. It can be a very effective surgical procedure for the right patients, but not everyone is a good candidate for otoplasty. You should consider undergoing otoplasty if you were born with overly small or large ears, or ears with significant cosmetic deformities.
You could be a good candidate for ear surgery if your ears are offset or disproportionate to your head. An ideal candidate should have ears that prominently stick out or suffer some kind of deformity. If you’re someone who has suffered an injury that negatively affected the positioning or shape of your ears, then you could be an excellent candidate for ear surgery.
There are many reasons why patients consider undergoing ear surgery. If your ears have reached their full size and have abnormalities in positioning or size, then you are a candidate for this procedure.
Ideal candidates for otoplasty should be in good health, cultivate realistic expectations and have a positive attitude.
Though the exact surgical technique that Dr. Alvarez will use depends on several factors, the basics of the procedure remain the same. When ear surgery is performed on children, the ear cartilage is very soft so contouring can be performed with splints.
In most cases, the surgery is performed while the patient is under general anesthesia. Unlike children, adults have much harder cartilage, so the procedure consists of repositioning or removing cartilage through a small incision in the ear.
Depending on your desired changes and unique anatomy, Dr. Alvarez might decide to make an incision that is hidden behind the ear. During the procedure, the surgeon can remove extra soft tissue or cartilage that causes the ear to stick out.
If the ear is missing its normal folds, Dr. Alvarez can shape the cartilage and create these folds. In many situations, the folds can be created with permanent sutures, or the cartilage can be contoured through targeted scraping. Depending on the desired result and the initial complications, Dr. Alvarez might use multiple techniques.
During a basic procedure, there are some simple steps. First, incisions are made in the ear and used to remove extra fat and skin. Second, the cartilage is contoured and positioned for optimal aesthetics. Third, the incisions are closed with stitches.
Following surgery, bandages will be placed around the head to keep the ears in place, protect them, and help them heal. The initial bandage will typically by replaced with a lighter bandage within a few days. Patients should keep the head elevated for the first few days, and get as much rest as possible. Any discomfort can usually be well-controlled by prescribed medication. There will be some swelling present, which will gradually recede over the weeks and months following the procedure. Most patients can return to work or school in about a week or two, and gradually begin resuming normal activities.
Choosing the Right Surgeon
When choosing a plastic surgeon, whether for yourself or for your child, it is important to find a doctor you can trust. Choose an experienced, compassionate provider who can help you reach your surgical goals. It is best to meet with several surgeons before making your decision, and be sure to do thorough research when choosing candidates.
How long will the procedure last?
The actual procedure can take anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours. The length of each procedure is dependent on several different factors, including the complexity of the ear abnormalities.
What can I expect after the procedure?
After surgery, most patients experience very minimal pain and bruising. It can take as long as two weeks for the majority of the swelling to subside. However, the areas around the incisions can remain sensitive for up to three weeks.
In most cases, the pressure dressing can be removed after about seven days. Some patients experience numbness in the ears for up to three months after the surgery, and you should regain sensation in your ears over this time.
Numbness is the main reason most patients experience virtually no pain during ear surgery, and it’s also the reason ear surgery is generally well-tolerated by children.
Are there risks?
Although it’s viewed as one of the safest procedures in the medical field, there are always risks involved with surgery. Since otoplasty is an invasive surgery, some risks include scarring, bleeding, infection, allergic reactions, adverse reaction to anesthesia, damage to underlying structures, changes in sensation and unsatisfactory aesthetic results.
After surgery, it’s perfectly normal for ears to swell and feel very tender. It’s also common for redness to appear around the incisions for a while.
How soon can I return to work?
The amount of time needed for proper recovery is different for every patient, but you can expect to return to work after about a week. However, you’ll want to take it easy and stick with low-intensity activities for several weeks following surgery.
Is otoplasty really safe for my child?
Otoplasty is a routine procedure that is performed on children as young as 4 or 5 on a regular basis. The procedure is considered extremely safe, and can benefit children socially as they grow older. Children also bounce back quickly from the surgery and return to normal activities.
Schedule your consultation with Dr. Alvarez today by calling 305-600-4146 or filling out the contact form in this page.