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Otoplasty - Subtle Changes Create a Big Result

Surgery of the ear, also known as otoplasty, is a procedure to help reduce how far the ear protrudes away from the head.  Most often, ear surgery is performed on children between the ages of four to fourteen.  Ears that “stick out” are often the source of teasing and ridicule in young children.  This teasing can have a poor effect on the child’s feelings of confidence and happiness.

Cosmetic ear surgery may also be performed on older patients.  Specific procedures are available for individuals with large ears and for those with congenital (birth) irregularities that take away from their appearance.  Additionally, an individual’s ears may exhibit abnormal traits due to genetics or injury, such as losing an ear or part of an ear.

Ear surgery can be performed under IV sedation or general anesthesia. Our doctors will discuss these options with you at your consultation.

Our doctors have the option of either folding the cartilage located on the back of the ear or removing excess cartilage. Stitches are placed and bandages are applied to speed healing. The procedure typically takes only a few hours and patients are happy with the long-lasting improvements to their appearance.

Reasons for Considering Ear Surgery:

  • Bring proportion to the face if the ears “stick out” too much.
  • Correct folded ear tips (lop ear).
  • Reshape long or offset earlobes.
  • Enhance very small ears or other congenital defects.
  • Remedy an accidental injury, including the loss of an ear.

Recovery Process

After the surgery, large bandages are wrapped around the head. This method secures the ear in place and assists with the healing process.  The bandages are usually removed within a week and replaced with smaller ones.  Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty of rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and reduce recovery time.  Patients sometimes report minor pain associated with surgery, but any pain can be treated effectively with oral medication. While complications are rare, patients can minimize potential problems by carefully following the post-operative directions.

Postoperative Information

After surgery patients can expect bruising around the area that fades in two to three weeks. Pain associated with the operation is minimal and can be easily treated with oral medication. The bandages are only needed for a few days and should be replaced with a lighter dressing. You should refrain from sleeping on the ears be sure to use a very soft pillow. Showering and shampooing can begin after a few days. It is normal to expect two to three days of recovery before normal activities can be performed. Consult with Drs. Gramins and Lin before attempting any athletic or strenuous activities that may affect the healing process.

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