- 1 Description
- 2 Options
- 3 indications
- 4 Evaluation
- 5 Option Details
- 6 Procedure Details
- 7 Recovery
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- 8.1 What is the definition of an otoplasty?
- 8.2 What is the purpose of an otoplasty?
- 8.3 Who is a good candidate for otoplasty?
- 8.4 Are prominent ears inherited?
- 8.5 What are the safety issues when considering cosmetic ear surgery?
- 8.6 Should parents encourage their children to have otoplasty?
- 8.7 How long do the effects of ear otoplasty last?
- 8.8 What are the benefits of ear reshaping surgery?
- 8.9 How long does the recovery take for otoplasty?
- 8.10 When warning signs should I look for after my ear surgery?
- 8.11 How long does ear surgery take to complete?
- 8.12 What surgical technique will be used for my ear surgery?
- 8.13 How do I prepare for my ear surgery?
- 8.14 How do I know if ear surgery can help me?
- 8.15 How old should my child be before having ear surgery?
- 8.16 Will there be visible scars?
- 8.17 I have small, oddly shaped ears, so will ear surgery help me?
If protruding or poorly shaped ears bother you or your child, you may consider ear surgery — also known as otoplasty—as a potential solution. Otoplasty can improve the proportion, position, or shape of the ear. It can also correct a defect in the ear structure that was present at birth, and it can treat ears misshapen as a result of an injury. Ear surgery can bring balance and proportion to the ears and face. Correction of even minor deformities can have immense beneﬁts to appearance and self-esteem.
Specifically, ear surgery can treat:
- Protruding ears present on one or both sides of the face
- Enlarged ears
- Adult dissatisfaction with previous ear surgery
Otoplasty is usually performed when a patient’s ears protrude away from their head excessively.
Ear surgery is one of the few cosmetic procedures that can be performed on children as young as five years old, with many parents opting to have ear surgery performed on their children in order to protect them from being a subject of ridicule in school. Ear deformities occur as a result of numerous conditions. Weak or poorly formed ear cartilage can cause small, absent (microtia), or protruding ears. Unpleasant deformities of the ear also occur due to injury (e.g. trauma or dog bite). Deformity of the ears may cause social anxiety and may make children vulnerable to teasing. Regardless of the origin of the ear deformity, Dr. Joubin Gabbay, M.D. can correct these ear conditions during an otoplasty procedure. Ear surgeries do not alter the patient’s hearing, but they may improve one’s appearance and self-confidence.
To ensure symmetry and balance, surgery is typically performed on both ears, even when only one appears to protrude. Cosmetic ear surgery takes approximately 2-3 hours, although the duration of the surgery and the surgical technique used will depend on the nature of each patient’s case. Local, intravenous, or general anesthesia will be administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure, and Dr. Gabbay will work with you to select the best choice for your surgery. During your ear surgery, Dr. Gabbay will use surgical techniques to create or increase the antihelical fold (located just inside the rim of the ear) and to diminish distended conchal cartilage (the primary and deepest concavity of the external ear). Incisions for otoplasty are usually made on the back surface of the ear; however if incisions are necessary on the front of the ear, they will be made within the folds of the ear, in order to disguise them. Internal, non-removable sutures will be utilized in order to create and secure your newly re-shaped ear cartilage.
During recovery from your otoplasty surgery, you will be asked to wear a headband during sleep to protect the surgical correction for the first 2-3 weeks. Patients can resume normal activities approximately two weeks after otoplasty surgery, although complete healing of the wounds and reduction of swelling may take 6-12 weeks. If you would like more information about ear surgery, please contact Gabbay Plastic Surgery and we will be happy to answer any and all of your questions, and to schedule an initial, complimentary consultation with Dr. Gabbay. You may also click the link below to read a more in-depth description of the otoplasty procedure.
Ear surgery (otoplasty), is generally performed to reduce the size of overly large ears, or to set prominent ears back closer to the head. Ear surgery can be performed on children and adults, and is indicated for a number of ear-related issues, including:
- Protruding or overly large ears
- Prominent ear deformity
- Stahl’s ear deformity: abnormal pointing of the top of the ear
- Ear lobe ptosis or sagging
- Ear lobe cleft: a split in the ear lobe due to prolonged earring use
- Reconstruction after traumatic injuries
- Reshaping a folded or cauliflower ear deformity
- Improving unbalanced or asymmetrical ears
- Cupped ears: disproportionately small ears
- Lop ear: ear tip folds downward and forward
- Shell ear: curve in the outer rim, as well as the natural folds and creases of the ear are missing
- Disproportionately large or stretched earlobes, or earlobes with wrinkles or creases
- Missing Ears: ears can be constructed for those who were born without them or who lost them through injury
If you are interested in learning more about ear surgery, please call Gabbay Plastic Surgery and let us schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Gabbay. During your meeting, Dr. Gabbay will discuss your overall expectations and aesthetic goals, in order to determine whether otoplasty is a suitable option for you.
You should come to your consultation prepared to discuss your medical history (including any past surgeries), present medical conditions, allergies, and medications. It is imperative that you are honest and provide complete information, as numerous medical conditions can potentially increase the risks and complications associated with surgery. If Dr. Gabbay feels that you are a good candidate for ear surgery, he will explain the different techniques, costs and potential side effects before scheduling your procedure. When choosing Dr. Gabbay, you can be assured that you are in the hands of a surgeon who has undergone extensive training and is highly esteemed by his colleagues and patients alike.
Common surgical techniques employed during ear surgery include:
Rib Graft: utilizes your body’s own biological tissues (rib cartilage and skin) to reshape or reconstruct the ears
Medpor: this technique uses a synthetic material consisting of a porous, high-density polyethylene (PHDPE) covered by a skin graft. Although a Medpor framework is not made of living tissue as in the Rib Graft technique, Medpor material does become vascularized as the blood vessels of the living tissue infiltrate the porous holes within the synthetic framework.
Soft Tissue: if enough of the deformed ear is present, Soft Tissue Ear Reconstruction may be a better choice than the Rib Graft or Medpor techniques. Soft-tissue reconstruction is an option for children or adults with smaller ears or ears that are folded over.
Tissue Expansion: this technique employs the use of a balloon filled with saline to slowly expand the area of skin in the ear region over time
Otoplasty is typically performed as a 2-3 hour outpatient procedure under general anesthesia; however, the exact details of the surgery will depend upon the ear deformity that needs correction. During the surgery, Dr. Gabbay will make an incision in the crease behind the ear where the ear is joined to the head. He will then sculpt and fold the ear to a more aesthetically desirable shape, before using sutures to secure the cartilage into position (in rare cases, Dr. Gabbay will remove cartilage to improve the ear shape). To ensure symmetry and balance, surgery is typically performed on both ears, even when only one appears to protrude. Earlobe reduction can be performed during the same surgery as the earlobe reshaping, or as a separate procedure. If earlobe reduction is the only procedure required to correct the ear deformity, it can be performed under local anesthesia and requires no down time.
During your recovery from ear surgery, you will be asked to wear a headband as you sleep for the first 2-3 weeks, in order to protect the surgical correction. Soft dressings applied to your ears will remain for a few days, and most patients experience mild discomfort that can be easily controlled with pain medication. If you are used to sleeping on your side, your sleep patterns may be disrupted for at least one week because you will not be allowed to put any pressure on your ear areas. Patients can resume normal activities approximately two weeks after otoplasty surgery, although complete wound healing and the abatement of swelling may take 6-12 weeks. Patients can engage in exercise 2-3 weeks after the procedure; however, contact sports should be avoided for 6-8 weeks. Although rare, complications that have been reported with any ear surgery include: infection, bleeding, relapse of the ear shape, and mild ear asymmetry.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the definition of an otoplasty?
The term otoplasty literally means, “re-shaping or re-forming the ears”. Although, it is most commonly used to describe the pinning back of prominent ears closer to the head, it may also refer to the surgical correction of a number of different ear deformities.
What is the purpose of an otoplasty?
An otoplasty can be done for purely cosmetic reasons, or it can be done as a reconstructive procedure to restore normal ear form. Either, aesthetic or for reconstruction purposes, otoplasty is performed to improve the shape, position, or proportion of your ear. As a cosmetic procedure, an otoplasty can treat microtia (overly large ears) or prominent ears on one or both sides. As a reconstructive procedure, it can correct a defect in the ear structure that is present at birth, or an ear deformed by injury.
Who is a good candidate for otoplasty?
Prominent ears are a cosmetic deformity that can have a severe emotional and behavioral effect on children and adults. Children with large ears can be taunted with names such as “Dumbo”, although; prominent ears typically don’t affect a child’s self-image until they are five or six years old. Healthy children or adults who are self-conscious about the prominence of their ears are good candidates for otoplasty.
Are prominent ears inherited?
Protruding ears are an inherited trait and 59% of affected individuals have a family history.
What are the safety issues when considering cosmetic ear surgery?
Though thousands of children and adults undergo otoplasty each year and experience no major complications, every surgical procedure carries a degree of risk. During your consultation, all complications will be thoroughly discussed, and Dr. Gabbay will encourage you to voice any questions or concerns at that time. By following his instructions, side effects will be greatly minimized. Although rare, potential complications include bleeding, infection, shifting, asymmetry, and unwanted scar tissue.
Should parents encourage their children to have otoplasty?
Children who feel uncomfortable about their ears and want the otoplasty procedure tend to be more cooperative during surgery and satisfied with their results. If they are opposed to surgery, parents should not insist that their child undergo otoplasty.
How long do the effects of ear otoplasty last?
Otoplasty is long lasting and patients are generally very pleased with their results, although in some cases, further adjustments may be necessary.
What are the benefits of ear reshaping surgery?
After your otoplasty surgery, your ears will take on a normal shape, allowing them to balance with the rest of your facial features. They will also look more natural and have a better shape, thus increasing your self-image and confidence.
How long does the recovery take for otoplasty?
Everyone is different when it comes to post-operative recovery, and as with any surgery, some people recover more quickly than others. Adults and children are usually up and around within a few hours of surgery. However, you may prefer to stay overnight in the hospital with a child, until all the effects of general anesthesia wear off. Your head and ears will ache and feel sore for a few days afterwards, but you will be given pain medication to deal with this. Immediately following your procedure, you will be required to keep your head bandage on, which will be replaced with a much lighter one after one week. The lighter bandage will look like a headband and must be worn 24 hours a day, for two weeks. The recovery time tends to be 5-7 days for an adult, and a week or more for children. You can return to work after that time, but you will be instructed to avoid any contact sports for at least one month. Any activity in which the ear might be bent should be avoided for at least one month, and children can go back to school after seven days, if they are careful about playground activity.
When warning signs should I look for after my ear surgery?
You should call Dr. Gabbay immediately if:
- You have shortness of breath, pains in the chest, or a rapid heartbeat
- Your wound becomes infected or is slow to heal
- You experience excessive bleeding
- You have a sudden increase in pain
How long does ear surgery take to complete?
Ear surgery usually takes 2-3 hours, although complicated procedures may take longer.
What surgical technique will be used for my ear surgery?
The technique used for your ear surgery will depend on the problem you have with your ears. One the more common techniques is when Dr. Gabbay makes a small incision in the back of your ear to expose the ear cartilage. He will then sculpt the cartilage, bend it back towards your head, then use non-removable stitches to help maintain the new shape. Another technique involves a similar incision in the back of your ear where skin is removed and stitches are used to fold the cartilage back on itself, to reshape the ear without removing cartilage. In most cases, ear surgery will leave a faint scar in the back of your ear that will fade with time.
How do I prepare for my ear surgery?
This will be discussed in detail during your consultation at Gabbay Plastic Surgery. You will be instructed to stop any medication that increases bleeding, including over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements.
How do I know if ear surgery can help me?
The best way to determine if you are a good candidate for ear surgery is to make an appointment with Dr. Gabbay at Gabbay Plastic Surgery. This will enable him to examine you, discuss the options available, and answer all of your questions and concerns.
How old should my child be before having ear surgery?
Usually a child’s ear is fully grown and developed by the time they are five years old, so anytime after that is appropriate for ear surgery.
Will there be visible scars?
Dr. Gabbay will make every effort to hide any scarring from ear surgery; and in most cases incisions are small and made behind your ear. Over time, any scar will fade and become nearly invisible.
I have small, oddly shaped ears, so will ear surgery help me?
Yes, ear surgery can correct a variety of ear disfigurements, and during your consultation Dr. Gabbay will examine your ears then discuss the different types of corrective surgeries available to you.