Many of us don't give much thought to the appearance of our ears, but for those whose ears are prominent, asymmentrical, or misshapen, ears can be a great source of insecurity. Otoplasty is a frequently performed procedure to reshape the ear or ears to create an improved or less conspicuous appearance. Quite often this involves bringing protruding ears closer to the sides of the head. This “ear pinning” procedure is fairly straightforward, and can improve self-esteem.
Am I a Candidate for Ear Surgery?
If you are an individual with any of the following concerns, then you may be a candidate for otoplasty surgery:
- Protruding ears
- Overly large ears
- Asymmetrical ears
- Deformities in the cartilage of one or both ears
Although there is a small risk of prominent ear recurrence, results from ear surgery are typically life-long. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and skin care regimen are strongly recommended to help patients get the most longevity out of their surgery results.
What are the benefits of Ear Surgery?
These are very rewarding procedures for our patients from Calgary and the surrounding areas. If an adult has protruding ears or other issues such as overly large ears, it’s likely the person has endured teasing throughout childhood. This can really create issues with self-esteem and the person can find him or herself subconsciously trying to hide their ears.
Are the results long lasting?
The results following an otoplasty procedure are long lasting. However, just like any other cosmetic procedure, it will take several months to achieve the final result.
Is there anything that needs to be done to prepare for otoplasty?
You will need to stop smoking, taking anti-inflammatory medications, blood thinning medications, herbal medications and most supplements before your procedure. You’ll only be under local anesthesia with sedation, so you won’t need to fast.
Otherwise, there aren’t any preparations necessary except maybe preparing your bed with extra pillows and the like to keep you from rolling onto your side when asleep.
How Otoplasty is Performed?
This procedure is done under a light general anesthesia in most circumstances but may be performed under local anesthesia. An incision is made on the back of ear, and the cartilage is reshaped and held in the new position by permanent stitches under the skin. Dissolving stitches are used to close the skin incision.
What are the risks involved with otoplasty?
There are the same risks as with any surgery: bleeding, infection, poor incision healing, and the like. Otherwise, this is a very low-risk procedure. The upside of a child not having to deal with protruding ears or an adult finally not worrying about his or her ears far outweighs the minimal risks involved with otoplasty.
A head bandage is worn for 3 to 5 days after surgery to provide support as the ears heal. Most patients report only minor discomfort following ear surgery, and this is typically managed with over the counter medication. Once the head bandage is removed, you can enjoy your normal activities and newly improved appearance. Swelling usually subsides after three weeks, but can occasionally persist longer. Bruising will likely occur. It will be worst 3-4 days and may persist for up to three weeks.
Is there anything I should avoid after my otoplasty?
You’ll want to simply avoid contact with your ears. We’ll provide initial bandages that will protect the area. After Dr. Dawes removes these, you’ll need to avoid tight shirts that pull over your head and hats that could irritate the incisions.
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You can resume normal activity as soon as you are able. Avoid strenuous activity and swimming for at least 3 weeks.
You will need to arrange for another responsible adult to pick you up following your surgery. They should be available at any time during the day for pickup.
The procedure is usually performed under local anesthetic so you will be awake.
For ear pinning procedures, there is a tiny scar where the ear joins the head on both sides. But this is located behind the ear, so it is basically invisible. If Dr. Dawes is downsizing your ears, he hides the incision in natural creases to hide any scarring.
For sleeping, you’ll need to arrange pillows or whatever you need to keep you from rolling onto your repaired ear or ears. Although it probably won’t impact your sutures, rolling onto your ear will provide quite a jolt of pain.