Otoplasty is a special procedure that’s used to diminish the appearance of protruding or large ears. The process involves setting (or pinning) the ears back so that they’re closer to the patient’s head, and may include shaping, molding, or removing cartilage in order to pull in the ears, so they no longer protrude. The surgery does not impact the patient’s hearing abilities; it only addresses the outer structure of the ear, not the inner or middle ear where actual hearing stems from.
How is Otoplasty Performed?
First, a small incision is made behind the patient’s ear where the ear and head are joined. The surgeon then eliminates as much skin and cartilage as necessary to achieve the desired results.
Depending upon the cause and nature of the protruding ears, a suture may be placed to both reshape and correct the appearance of the ear. The resulting scars and incisions are completely hidden on the backside of the ear and blend almost completely into your ear’s natural crease.
For a few days, soft, clean dressings are applied to the patient’s ears. Most people will experience some degree of mild discomfort. If you’re someone who is used to sleeping on your side, this won’t be an option for a week or two since you can’t apply any pressure on your ears. Typically, headbands are used to help hold the ears in their final position for a few weeks following surgery.
Am I a Good Candidate for Otoplasty?
Otoplasty is a relief for countless people who spend their lives suffering in silence and feeling overly self-conscious about their appearance because of misshapen, asymmetrical, deformed, or large, protruding ears. Otoplasty is performed primarily for these aesthetic reasons, rather than out of medical necessity.
Candidates must be in general good health and have no serious active diseases or pre-existing medical disorders. Also, realistic expectations of the results of the surgery are crucial.
Otoplasty can be done as soon as the ears have reached their full adult size, typically around age 5 or 6. This surgery is most typically done on children between the ages of 5-14, although it can be performed on anyone age 5 and up.
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