For many men and women of all ages, the embarrassment of having ears that stick out can result in a loss of confidence in professional and social situations. However, with today’s advances in ear surgery, or otoplasty, by Scottsdale, AZ board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Carlos Mata, a.k.a. Dr. Scottsdale®, dramatic improvements can be produced in the appearance of your ears in just a few short hours. The ears are fully grown by the time you are 4, so ear surgery is ideal for children who may encounter teasing from other kids as they begin preschool or kindergarten. In fact, most ear surgeries are performed on children ages 4 – 14. Ear surgery can as easily be performed on mature men and women, and having the surgery at an older age poses no additional risks. It may also reform misshapen ears or torn ear lobes to a restored appearance. There are a number of ear deformities that may be hereditary or occur as a result of birth defects or a traumatic injury.
Ear surgery may also involve a torn earlobe. This may occur with heavy earrings or through other trauma. The surgical repair of a torn earlobe is generally straightforward. The skin cleft between the two sides of the tear is removed and using either a skin graft or donated cartilage, a new lobe is reconstructed. Sutures are used that are placed in both the front and back of the ear and will remain intact for several weeks. Several postoperative visits may be required so that the sutures can be removed in several phases to ensure the lobe is strong and aesthetically appealing.
In the cases of protruding ears, the cartilages are reformed and sometimes supported by splints. Soft tissues may also be trimmed away. The incisions are made behind the ear to reveal the ear’s confines. The ears will be repositioned by tightening the skin and then sutured. In cases of hidden ears, when cartilages are not fully developed, manipulations may include reshaping the cartilages by pulling or repositioning while splints are placed as supports. Sometimes, tissue grafting is also necessary to render volume.
Otoplasties are performed with general anesthesia in an accredited surgical facility. It takes 1 to 2 hours to complete, and the patient will be sent home for recovery. The ear will be bandaged to keep the new position and shape in place. This also helps so that children cannot touch or play with their ears, which may complicate healing. Activities must be limited, especially within the first week. Scars will remain hidden behind the ears or within the natural folds if the incisions are made in front of the ear.
|Recover Time||14 days|
|Average Procedure Time||2 hrs|
|Procedure Recovery Location||Outpatient|
The ears typically mature faster than any other part of the body, therefore, at an appropriate age and time when surgical adjustments are made, the results are generally long-lasting. Even as the body changes due to age and gravity, the changes to the ear will be minimal and a secondary otoplasty is usually not needed.
On average, 5 – 6-year-olds are ideal candidates for otoplasty as the ear will be already developed and the cartilage and tissues will still be soft, making it easy to reshape. This age is also recommended as it is a time before any schooling, which helps to avoid teasing.
Usually, the condition is symmetrical to both ears. The final shape that the surgery will aim for will depend on the initial structure of the ear and how cartilages are placed. If the procedure is only for one ear, the shape will be patterned after the normally formed ear.