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Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)

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Otoplasty or ear surgery

 

Otoplasty or ear surgery is a procedure that helps reduce protrusion of the ear away from the head.  Most often, ear surgery is performed on children between the ages of  about four to fourteen.  Ears that protrude are often the source of teasing and ridicule in young children.  This teasing can have a devastating effect on the child’s psyche.

Otoplasty is not limited to children and may also be performed on older patients.  Cosmetic procedures are available for those individuals with large ears and for those with congenital (birth) irregularities that detract from their appearance.  Additionally, an individual’s ears may exhibit abnormal traits due to their genetic make-up or an accidental injury, such as losing an ear or part of an ear.  Otoplasty is used successfully for each of these situations.  Regardless of the procedure, patients have been pleased with the long-lasting improvements to their appearance offered by ear surgery.

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.
      
  • Repair of gauged ears

Surgical technique

Ear surgery is commonly performed under deeper anesthesia for children and local anesthesia with sedation for adults.  The standard otoplasty procedure brings the ears closer to the head.  Otoplasty begins with an incision hidden in the crease behind the ear.  This incision allows the cartilage located behind the ears to be reshaped in order to position them closer to the head.  The procedure takes approximately one to two hours, depending upon the extent of surgery.

There are various surgical techniques involved in correcting irregularities other than protruding ears.  These techniques can be discussed with your physician during the initial consultation.

Recovery Process

After the surgery is completed, large bandages will be 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 dressings.  Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty of rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and reduce the recovery time.  Patients sometimes report minor pain associated with surgery.  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:

Complications

  • Swelling  This is usual and slight but if it is prolonged and excessive it may limit the circulation to the skin or cartilage causing problems that may need reconstruction later. packs applied over a clean cloth may help to reduce the swelling. If you notice a great deal of swelling, Dr. Sacks should be informed
  • Bruising is usually temporary and slight but if excessive may cause problems like excess swelling. Usually cold packs will slowly make bruising fade.
  • Pain again should only be moderate and last a few days after surgery. If your pain is excessive Dr. Sacks should be contacted
  • Infection  is very rare as the patient is placed on antibiotics prior to and after the surgery. Infection is a serious complication. Symptoms such as excessive pain, fever plus redness should be reported.
  • Asymmetry  after surgery is usually slight and temporary and is probably due to swelling.

  Prices of Ear Surgery

            Prices will vary depending on several factors such as one or both ears and the actual surgery required as well as the type of anesthesia requested.

            Ear Surgery prices range  from as little as a few hundred dollars for something simple like repair of a torn earlobe to $5000 for complicated protruding ears.