Although the ears don’t seem like a central part of your overall appearance, you most likely feel like you’re affected by them if they’re overly large, protruding, or misshapen. For many children that develop ears like these, social situations can be very difficult. We understand that even small changes can have a large impact on your self-confidence and your relationships, so we provide expert techniques to achieve an ear profile that fits your overall appearance and look.
Otoplasty, also known as ear surgery, is a procedure that aims to reduce the size of the ears and reshape them to a flattering, unobtrusive profile and position. Whether as a result of heredity or the aging process, patients with ears that are large or protruding can greatly benefit from an ear ‘pinning’ procedure. These patients sometimes include children of an old enough age. Although otoplasty refers to ear pinning and reduction techniques, ear surgery can sometimes include correcting or reducing torn or stretched earlobes as a result of aging or long-term use of heavy jewelry.
Patients that benefit most from otoplasty procedures are those with large, protruding ears that can be ‘pinned’ back or reduced in size through surgical techniques. Although this is one plastic surgery procedure that can benefit children, your child should be at least five years old and have cartilage that is developed enough for surgical correction. It’s important that child patients be able to understand the nature of the procedure and be able to voice their consent and feelings about the procedure. You may also need to resolve any issues with your child being susceptible to ear infections. All patients should be sure to discuss any medical conditions during a consultation that can affect their safety during or after surgery.
There are many different ways that ear surgery can be performed that will depend mostly on your goals and anatomy. The most common technique is ‘pinning’ the ears back if they are protrusive. This is accomplished by creating an incision on the back of the ear and removing skin and tissue, then suturing it in place nearer to the head if needed. Additional incisions can be made inside the natural folds of the front of the ear in order to reduce cartilage. If you wish to correct your earlobes, incisions can be made in order to trim away excess skin or suture the earlobe back together if it has been torn by gauges or heavy jewelry. During your consultation, you’ll receive a full surgical plan that is unique to your anatomy and aesthetic goals.
Your ear surgery can be performed inside our private, accredited surgical facility. The type of anesthesia used will depend on how extensive your procedure is, but simple pinning techniques can usually be performed under local anesthesia. Once you’re comfortable and ready, your anesthesia will be administered, and a predetermined incision will be made to reduce and reshape the ear accordingly. Once the desired shape and profile is created, the incisions are closed with sutures and bandaged. Overall, this process can take around one hour, depending on how extensive your procedure is.
Because ear surgery is not as invasive as other facial plastic surgery procedures, it doesn’t require as much downtime and some patients even return to work or school within one or two days. You can still expect some discomfort or pain, which can be managed with prescribed medications. It’s important to not bother or disrupt any bandages or dressings, as these can help keep the ears in their new position. Most patients notice results immediately, but it can still take some time for your ears to adjust to their new shape, size, and position. Ear surgery does not come with a high risk of visible scarring since most incisions can be hidden within the natural folds of the ears.
Ear surgery can produce life-changing results for patients that have lived with large, protruding ears and see few options. To see how you can benefit and begin planning your surgery, schedule a consultation by calling our St. Joseph office or filling out our online form.