Otoplasty: Frequently Asked Questions
Otoplasty, or cosmetic ear surgery, can make a world of difference in the life of a child (or adult) who is teased about the size or shape of his or her ears. If you're considering this procedure for your child or yourself, you probably have lots of questions and a few concerns. We've compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about otoplasty, and their succinct answers:
- What is otoplasty?
- How is otoplasty performed?
- What should I expect postoperatively?
- When will I be able to see the results?
- What are the risks of otoplasty?
- How much does otoplasty cost?
- What is earlobe surgery?
Otoplasty surgery can take many forms, including bringing ears that stick out too far closer to the head (ear pinning), reducing the size of very large ears, or reshaping various bends in the cartilage.
Otoplasty is usually performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, an ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeon or a board-certified facial plastic surgeon. In adults, otoplasty is usually performed as an outpatient procedure under local or regional anesthesia. In children under the age of 8, general anesthesia is usually administered to keep them still during the procedure. All incisions are made behind the ear so there are no visible scars after the operation. If the ears are protruding, they may be rotated backward. If some of the natural folds of the ear are missing, they can be created from tissues taken from other parts of the ear or body. Ears that have been injured and are thickened can be thinned and sculpted. At the end of the operation, a pressure dressing is placed over the ear(s) to hold it in place while it heals.
There is normally very little pain or bruising involved postoperatively. It takes about a week and a half after the procedure for most of the swelling to subside, although the area will be sensitive for about three weeks. The pressure dressing is removed after five to seven days. Ears will often feel numb for two to three months after the surgery, with sensation returning slowly over that period. This numbness is the reason that there is generally no pain during otoplasty recovery, which makes the operation exceptionally well-tolerated by children.
No peeking at the ear until after the pressure dressing is removed! Doing so could increase the chance of infection or alter the final results. After the dressings are removed, you will see an immediate difference in the ear, although some residual swelling may remain.
With proper postoperative care, otoplasty is a very safe and satisfying operation that carries little risk. Possible ear surgery complications include reaction to anesthesia, bleeding, infection, blood clot, unfavorable scarring, asymmetry and cosmetic dissatisfaction.
The cost of otoplasty depends on a variety of factors, including the extent of the procedure, the location of the practice and the skill level of the surgeon. The average cost of ear surgery is $3,441, according to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Earlobe surgery is a procedure in which the surgeon repairs an earlobe that has been stretched or torn. In some cases, the earlobe may have been torn due to a piercing that was accidentally yanked. In other instances, the lobe may have been stretched intentionally as a form of body modification. In either case, the surgeon can suture the opening closed and allow the patient to wear earrings again.
Annapolis Aesthetic Surgery, Inc.
116 Defense Hwy.,
Annapolis, MD 21401
10807 Falls Road, #100
Baltimore, MD 21093
Buinewicz Plastic Surgery & Medspa
3655 Route 202
Suites 225 and 230
Doylestown, PA 18902