Ear surgery (otoplasty), can give you a look you have wanted your whole life. Many adults and children have to endure ridicule and embarrassment due to the large appearance of their ears, without even knowing that it can be corrected. Otoplasty is performed by making hidden incisions to soften and fold the cartilage of the ear into a more relaxed position.
Otoplasty is one of the few cosmetic procedures appropriate for children.Ear surgery can be performed on children as young as four years old, when the ears are almost fully developed. The procedure is more popular for males than females, because short hair styles are more common for males and make ear deformities more difficult to hide.
Most doctors recommend correcting ear deformities before a child starts school to avoid the psychological impact of harsh ridicule that children with even slightly misshapen ears must endure.
There are many types of ear deformities including:
- Protruding ear
- Stahl’s Ear Deformity (Spock’s Ear, Vulcan Ear, Satyr’s Ear, Pointed Ear)
- Macrotia (big ears)
- Constricted ear (cup ear, lop ear)
- Telephone ear (larger at the top and bottom, smaller in the middle)
- Earlobe deformities
All of these problems can be surgically corrected. Sometimes only one ear will be deformed, but it is usually best to perform otoplasty on both ears so that the ears will match.
Protruding ears are the most common problem. The surgery used to correct protruding ears is referred to as “ear pinning.” During this procedure a small sliver of cartilage is usually removed, but sometimes just skin is removed. The ear is bent into a more natural shape, closer to the head, and stitched. In most cases protruding ears are not actually too large. The goal of ear pinning is to change the angle, not the size of the ear. Otoplasty to reduce ears that are too large is more complicated than “ear pinning” and the surgery usually takes longer.
Most otoplasty takes two to three hours, under general anesthesia. School or work can be resumed in about a week. Any activity which might bend the ear should be avoided for at least a month, so a child’s playground and P.E. activities will be limited. A dressing is worn for 2 weeks following surgery and the results can be seen immediately.
Otoplasty can do wonders for a child or an adult’s self-esteem, and ultimately improve quality of life. If you or your child has protruding, large, or misshapen ears, talk to an experienced cosmetic surgeon about otoplasty today.
For more information on otoplasty, try looking in the Facial Procedures Articles.