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Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)

ear surgery in denver co | otoplasty boulder

What is otoplasty?

Often, otoplasty (ear surgery) is done for children aged about 4 to 14. It’s done to prevent teasing or humiliation when the ears protrude too much or “look funny”, and since our ears are fully grown by age 4 or 5, it’s best done as early as possible.

Just as often, those kids don’t have it done and grow into adults who can benefit just as much from ear surgery, so that many men and women decide to have their ears improved as adults.  Adults don’t incur any extra risk, and for many, it is actually easier since they can have surgery under local anesthesia. Otoplasty can remedy many conditions of the external ear including:

  • Protruding ears that stick out too much
  • Cupped ear – a very small ear
  • Lop ear – the tip bends forward and downwards
  • Shell ear – the outer curve and rim is missing
  • Over-large or stretched earlobes
  • Highly creased or wrinkled ear lobes
  • Spock’s ear – a pointed top and an extra fold
  • Ears too large or too small
  • Excessively large “gauge” ear piercing

Am I a good candidate for ear pinning?

Yes, if you’re:

  • Over 3 years old
  • In good general health
  • Realistic in your expectations of the outcome

Is anesthesia used during ear surgery?

It can be done with either a local anesthetic combined with some IV or oral sedation for adults, or with general anesthesia in children. Dr. Fante will discuss this with you.

How can I prepare for otoplasty?

Dr. Fante will give you specific pre-op instructions. Your head won’t have to be shaved.

If it’s for a child:

  • It is best not to insist on it until the child is ready. The child will be more cooperative and have a better outcome if he or she is emotionally ready to have it done.
  • Make arrangements for the child to be absent from school for a week or so, and to have some discreet playground supervision so as not to get their ears hurt by play activity.
  • Dr. Fante may use general anesthesia so the child can sleep through the procedure.
Whether it’s a child or an adult:
  • The otoplasty surgery takes 1 to 2 hours, depending on your individual needs
  • A small incision is made in the back of the ear so as to gain access to the cartilage
  • Dr. Fante will sculpt the cartilage and direct it back closer to the side of the head
  • Permanent stitches might be used to help maintain the new position
  • Sometimes some cartilage is removed to create a more natural look
  • For certain deformities, other incisions and reconstruction will be performed as appropriate
  • Most commonly there will be a small scar on the back of the ear

Can I have other procedures done at the same time as ear surgery?

Yes. Otoplasty is often done in conjunction with other procedures, such as:

You can ask Dr. Fante about combinations you’d like to have, and discuss the possibilities before anything is done.

Will I have to take time off work after ear surgery?

Yes, a little. Most people return to work after 7 to 14 days.

Will there be scars after otoplasty?

All incisions leave scars. For cosmetic ear surgery, the scars are usually hidden behind the ear and heal very well.  Some kinds of earlobe repair and improvement of certain ear deformities will require an incision and scar on the front of the ear.  In these cases, every attempt is made to hide the scar along natural lines.

We’re all different when it comes to scarring, and it’s partly determined by our heredity. Some of us form small, faded scars rather easily. Others form larger, more pigmented scars. This is not easily predictable.

However, any over-large scars can be treated by minor follow-up surgery.

Dr. Fante makes the incisions as small as possible, and as discreetly placed as possible, for the best overall outcome for you. Each otoplasty is individualized, and you can discuss scarring questions with Dr. Fante before any procedure is started.

Recovery after otoplasty

You can be back on your feet within a few hours. Dr. Fante will give you written directions for post-op care.

  • There’ll be bulky bandaging at first, to reinforce healing in the new position
  • Your ears might ache slightly for a few days, and Dr. Fante will prescribe pain medication
  • After a few days, you won’t need a bandage but there will be some swelling and bruising for 1-2 weeks
  • Stitches will dissolve, or be removed in about a week
  • For about a month, avoid any activity that might bend your ears or knock anything against them. You’ll be asked to wear a tennis headband while sleeping, to avoid inadvertently bending the ears.  Be careful with helmets if you participate in a sport that uses one

Schedule a consultation

Most people, whether children or adults, are very happy with their new ears.  Once healing is complete, the results are permanent. If you feel that you are a good candidate for ear surgery (Otoplasty) call our office in Denver today! Call (303) 839-1616 to schedule a consultation.