Ear surgery is a common term for otoplasty; a plastic surgery procedure that can improve the size or proportion of the ear. While ear reshaping can be performed on patients of any age, it is generally done on patients between 7 and 14 years of age.
Specifically, ear surgery can treat:
- Defects in the ear structure
- Excessive ear cartilage
- The position of the ear
- The proportion of the ear
The condition of prominent ears is present at birth and results from the failure of the ear cartilage to fold properly, especially in the upper half of the ear. Prominence can also be due to an excess of cartilage in the “bowl” of the ear. Many people want to have this condition fixed to prevent the social stigma of having “big ears”.
Best Candidates for the procedure
Good Otoplasty candidates:
- Have larger, protruding ears
- Are 7 years of age or older
- Are in good physical shape, moderately fit and close to their ideal body weight
- Have realistic expectation for their outcome
- Do not have a life-threatening condition or illnesses that can impair healing
- Are Non-Smokers
The best time to correct prominent ears is when the child becomes aware of the teasing from other children that, unfortunately, happens often. Surgery is usually performed anytime after the age of seven, and ideally before the child is fully grown, as the cartilage is easier to bend. Despite this, adults can still undergo the surgery with good results.
Dr. Doezie will meet with the patient to answer questions and concerns as well as exam the area to be treated. An office consultation with Dr. Doezie will allow him to determine if surgical correction will result in more aesthetically appealing ears. A quote will be given before the end of the appointment.
During the procedure, incisions are made inside the rim of the ear, the deepest concavity of the external ear and or the back surface of the ear. The placement of the incision lines are designed to be concealed by the natural structure of the ears, so that the casual observer cannot tell that you have had surgery. Internal sutures are used to create the new shape of the ear and then external sutures are used to close the incisions. Dr. Doezie will determine the suture technique that is right for you. Surgical correction is done in the operating room under general anesthesia. Most surgeries are performed at an outpatient surgery center and no overnight stay is required.
Most patients do not experience much pain after the surgery, though pain is experienced and interpreted differently from person to person. Immediately following surgery you will be placed in a compression garment to minimize swelling. The postoperative dressing consists of a complete head dressing that will be removed a week later. During this time, it is important to keep the dressing dry. Following this, a headband or hat, which covers the ears, will need to be worn for an additional two weeks. It is especially important to wear this at night. This protects the ears from inadvertent forces that can pull or move the ear and potentially break the stitches that keep it folded.
Most prominent ear surgery patients see their results immediately, and over the following weeks the ear will settle into its new position closer to the head. Surgical scars are hidden behind the ears and will become less visible over time.
Otoplasty costs can vary based on a number of different factors. Dr. Doezie will determine your exact quote at the time of your consultation.
Visit our photo gallery to see before and after pictures of Dr. Doezie’s otoplasty patients.
Learn more about ear surgery and schedule a consultation with Dr. Doezie at Mission Plastic Surgery.