Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)
Dissatisfaction with the appearance of the external ear is common among people with congenital and acquired minor or major ear deformities. In the absence of pathology of the middle and inner ear, many external ear deformities can be successfully repaired as office or outpatient procedures. Lop ear and bat ear, the most common types of congenital excessive protrusion of the external ear, and acquired earlobe deformities are the most common problems solved by ear surgery.
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:
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
Before your procedure, Dr. Fante will evaluate your history to determine if the problem is congenital or acquired, or if it is causing psychological problems or self-consciousness. From there he will move onto the clinical examination in which each ear is evaluated separately across multiple areas. Dr. Fante will evaluate the ear for underdevelopment, helical prominence/deformity, conchal bowl size and configuration, cartilage strength and malleability, lobule protrusion, cephalis position asymmetry and cephalo-auricular angle.
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:
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.
Ear Surgery for Gauged Ears
Very large piercing holes can be created by gauge earrings in both men and women. When they are no longer desired, reconstruction can be accomplished under local anesthesia using simple flaps and closure in multiple layers.
Are there any alternatives to ear surgery?
There are two alternatives to surgery: Incisionless surgery and molding.
Incisionless surgery is an option for some patients using complex suture placement. If incisionless surgery is not an option, molding is also available.
Molds can be used on both infants and adults to reshape the ears.
- During early infancy, the ear cartilage is more malleable and viscous and less elastic than it will later be (possibly related to maternal estrogen levels), and so there is an opportunity to mold the ear. Best results are seen for molding treatment begun within the first 3 days of life and continued until 6 months of age
- In adulthood, laser reshaping of the auricular cartilage followed by application of external conformers has been studied (Leclere, Lasers Surg Med, 2011). Patients wear conforming silicone elastomer molds for 4-6 weeks after in-office laser treatment. The entire system is currently marketed by Numenis as Cartilaze in the US.
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.
What are the risks associated with Ear Surgery?
As with any surgery, complications following surgery are possible. These possible complications include:
There are no disease-related complications. If you feel that you are having any symptoms listed above please contact our office.
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.