Ear Pinning Surgery
Otoplasty, or plastic surgery on the ear, is typically performed to pin prominent ears back closer to the head or to reduce the size of large ears. Ear surgery can improve the ear's figure or placement on the head. Otoplasty is used to create more natural ear shape or balance the proportion of one’s ears to their face size.
If You’re Considering Ear Surgery…
Typically, there are no additional risks for an Otoplasty surgery to be performed on an older patient; however, the operation is generally done on children between the ages of four and 14. A person’s ears usually entirely grown by age four. This particular cosmetic surgery is often finalized to end the mocking or ridicule of a child, so the earlier it is completed, the better.
If you are personally contemplating cosmetic ear surgery for yourself or your child, the following information has been provided to offer you a basic understanding of the procedure. This information covers when the surgery can help, how it is performed, and what results can be expected. Be sure to ask Dr. Leonard any other questions you may have because every surgery is different.
All Surgery Carries Some Uncertainty and Risk
When a cosmetic ear surgery is performed by a skilled and knowledgeable surgeon like Dr. Leonard, problems are highly uncommon; however, with all operations, there are dangers and specific difficulties that can arise. One of these risks is that some patients develop a blood clot on the ear after their surgery. This blood clot may dissolve naturally or can be drawn out with a needle. Occasionally, patients can form an infection in the cartilage causing scar tissue to form. Infections generally are treated with antibiotics, but on some occasions, surgery is required to drain the infection from the ear. Sometimes, Otoplasty can leave a scar that is worse than the original concern. You should ask Dr. Leonard about the usefulness of a surgical procedure for your specific case.
Planning For Surgery
1. Leonard recommends that parents be aware of their child’s feelings about the child’s ears. Since the cosmetic surgery is not necessary, parents should not insist on the surgery until their child requests the change. Children who dislike the way their ears look and really desire the surgery are known to more supportive during the process and are more pleased with the results.
During the first meeting, Dr. Leonard will assess the patient’s complaints, and recommend the most effective method of action. Dr. Leonard will also give you detailed directions on how to prepare for the operation.
Where The Surgery Will Be Performed
Otoplasty is habitually done as an outpatient operation in a doctor’s office-based surgical facility, a hospital or an unattached surgery center. Dr. Leonard may recommend that the surgery be performed as an inpatient procedure, in which case you would have to spend overnight in a hospital.
Types of Anesthesia
2. Leonard will typically recommend general anesthesia for young children so that the child can sleep through the operation. Dr. Leonard prefers to use local anesthesia, combined with a sedative, for older children or adults. Local anesthesia and sedatives are used so that you or your child will be awake and relaxed.
Otoplasty generally takes two to three hours, but complicated procedures can take longer. The technique used during the surgery depends on the problem at hand. With most common techniques, Dr. Leonard will make a small incision in the back of the ear to expose the ear cartilage. Dr. Leonard will then sculpt the cartilage and bend it back toward the head to solve the issue. Stitches are used to keep the ear in place. Dr. Leonard will remove a piece of cartilage to ensure a more natural-looking fold, on occasion.
A different technique involves a similar incision in the back of the ear, but with this technique, skin is removed. Also, stitches are used to fold the cartilage back on itself to reform the ear without taking away any cartilage. In typical surgeries, there will only be a faint scar on the back of the ear left. The scar will generally fade with time. It should be acknowledged that even if only one ear appears to need the operation, Dr. Leonard will usually perform the procedure both ears for a more even appearance.
Getting Back to Normal
Patients are usually feeling somewhat normal within a few hours of the operation; however, with small children, it is often recommended that you stay at the hospital overnight to let the general anesthesia wear off. The patient’s head will be covered in a bulky compress following procedure to encourage the finest formation and adequate healing. Medication can be used to treat the minor pains that follow the surgery.
Soon after the healing begins, the bandage will be replaced with a smaller one and the stitches will either be removed or dissolve after about a week. Patients should always follow Dr. Leonard’s directions for the healing process. Any activities where your ear could be bent should be avoided for at least a month. Adults can usually return to work about five days later, and children can go back to school after a week. Kids must still be careful about playground activity, sports or any other events that could damage the ear. Adult supervision should be extra important after the child’s surgery.
Other Ear Problems
Protruding ears are the main reason for cosmetic ear surgery; however, there are a variety of other ear problems that can be helped with this procedure. Lop ear, which is when the tip of the ear folds down and forward, can be surgically fixed with Otoplasty. Cupped ear, which is when a person’s ear is particularly small can be changed with ear surgery. Also, shell ear, where the curves and the natural folds or creases are missing can be surgically altered. Otoplasty can improve stretched earlobes or lobes with large creases and wrinkles. Dr. Leonard can even build new ears for those who were born without them or those who lost them in an injury.
More Natural-Looking Ears
The goal with Otoplasty is to improve the look of the ears, not to perfect the look. Going into surgery, you should never expect both ears to match perfectly. The result of perfect symmetry is both unlikely and unnatural in ears. As long as you discuss the procedure and your expectations with Dr. Leonard before the procedure, then you should be satisfied with your results.