Is Otoplasty Right For You?

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Both children and adults sometimes think that their ears are too big and this can cause them serious psychological distress. Being bullied or teased because of prominent ears can really affect a child or adult’s emotional well-being, behaviour and self-confidence.

Prominent Ears

Protruding ears often occur randomly but can also run in families. Having protruding ears should not affect a person’s hearing. They occur for a number of reasons:

  • Overdevelopment or underdevelopment of the cartilage
  • Prominent ears can result from an injury to the ears.
  • Birth defect

Remodelling the ear: Two primary techniques are used to fix protruding ears.

Ear splinting

This is a safe and straightforward procedure that can be used to treat infants of 6 months or younger. The surgeon will use a splint to rebuild the soft cartilage. The splint will support the ear and will keep it in the new position. After six months, the cartilage in the ear becomes too hard for remodelling with splints. Surgery will be the only treatment option.

Otoplasty

Otoplastic techniques are used to reconstruct, replace or correct a missing, defective or deformed ear. For best results, an otoplasty should only be administered after the patient’s ears have reached full size. An otoplasty can reshape the cartilage to position the ear closer to the head.

There are three main types of otoplasty:

  • Otopexy: If the patient has protruding ears that need pinning back.
  • Ear augmentation: If the outer ear is underdeveloped
  • Ear reduction: If the outer ear is too big.

What to expect during surgery?

General anaesthesia is used in children, and for adults, an intravenous sedation supplemented with local anaesthesia is applied. The surgeon makes an incision behind the ear. An otoplasty generally lasts one to two hours. There is a thin scar, but it is localised behind the ear and out of view. The scar will eventually fade away.

Recovery

Choosing a surgery who specialises in otoplasty procedures like otoplasty surgeon in Sydney – Dr Zurek will ensure that your otoplasty recovery goes smoothly. The following is a list of what you can expect during recovery:

  • Bandages are needed over the patient’s ears for several days following the surgery.
  • Once the bandages have been removed, a supportive but loose headband is worn over the ears at night.
  • The individual can return to school or work within a week of surgery. Regular exercise and activity can begin again in about two weeks after the procedure.  
  • Patients should avoid activities that could cause trauma or injury to the ears during the recovery period.
  • Revert from swimming for up to eight weeks after surgery.
  • Numbing may persist for several weeks following the otoplasty, and mild bruising can occur for up to two weeks. Soreness, particularly at night, can last for two to three months.

 

Stanley Kessinger