Ear Surgery Overview
Ear surgery, or otoplasty, is a surgical procedure to improve the appearance of the ear by altering its shape or position in relation to the rest of the face. It can also correct deformities that present naturally as a child develops, or those caused by injury. Specifically, otoplasty is a good option for correcting ears that are overly large or protruding.
Otoplasty can be performed on children over the age of five, once the cartilage of the ear stabilizes enough for correction, as well as adolescents and adults.
Preparation will vary based on the patient’s age and specific condition, but generally you should cease taking blood-thinning vitamins, herbs, and medications (such as aspirin) for two weeks before surgery. If you smoke, you should quit for at least the fourteen days before and after surgery, to avoid complications and slow healing. Patients over the age of 45 will need to obtain medical clearance by an independent physician before undergoing otoplasty.
Anesthesia options vary based on the patient’s age and preference. Children will usually receive general anesthesia, while adolescents and adults may have the option to receive a local anesthetic with sedation. Dr. Vallecillos will discuss your options beforehand.
- The surgical techniques used in otoplasty will vary depending on the patient’s condition and the goals of the surgery.
Incisions are generally made on the back surface of the ear, though certain procedures will require that an incision is made in the front. In these cases, much care is taken to ensure that the incision is hidden in the natural folds of the ear.
If the surgery is being performed to correct protruding ears, the antihelical fold is increased and the conchal cartilage is reduced.
Once the corrections are made, Dr. Vallecillos will close the incisions and apply bandages. After healing is complete, patients will be able to enjoy the improved appearance of their ears.
Ear Surgery FAQ
Who is a candidate for ear surgery?
Eligible patients for otoplasty include children over the age of five, adolescents, and adults. You should consider ear surgery if you suffer from overly large or protruding ears, wish to correct a deformity caused either genetics or injury, or otherwise wish to improve the appearance of the ears.
What is the recovery time for ear surgery?
Recovery time may vary based on the age of the patient and the extent of the surgical procedure. In general, adults heal faster than children and can return to regular activities sooner, usually within a few days. Children should limit rest and undergo very little physical activity for at least one week after their procedure to ensure the ears have ample time to heal properly. Complete healing may take up to six weeks.
Please note that it is very important to keep bandages on until removed by Dr. Vallecillos. Premature removal of bandages can limit results and may necessitate additional procedures.
Are there risks or side effects with ear surgery?
Like all surgeries, otoplasty carries a risk of bleeding, blood clots, and infection. Asymmetry and unfavorable scarring are other, less common side effects of ear surgery. You can reduce your risks by carefully following all pre- and post-operative care guidelines provided by Dr. Vallecillos.
How long do the results last?
Patients should expect that the results of their otoplasty are permanent. Once removed, cartilage does not grow back.