Ear surgery – also known as otoplasty – can improve the shape, position or proportion of the ear. It can correct a defect in the ear structure that is present at birth, or it can treat misshapen ears caused by injury.
What is otoplasty?
Ear surgery, also known as otoplasty, can improve the shape, position or proportion of the ear.
Otoplasty can correct a defect in the ear structure that is present at birth that becomes apparent with development or it can treat misshapen ears caused by injury.
Ear surgery creates a natural shape, while bringing balance and proportion to the ears and face. Correction of even minor deformities can have profound beneﬁts to appearance and self-esteem.
If protruding or disﬁgured ears bother you or your child, you may consider plastic surgery.
Specifically ear surgery can treat:
- Overly large ears — a rare condition called macrotia
- Protruding ears occurring on one or both sides in varying degrees — not associated with hearing loss
- Adult dissatisfaction with previous ear surgery
Important facts about the safety and risks of ear surgery
The decision to have ear surgery is extremely personal and you’ll have to decide if the beneﬁts will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable. Your plastic surgeon and/or staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery.
You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo, the alternatives and the most likely risks and potential complications.
Some of the risks include:
- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Blood clots
- Poor wound healing
- Change in skin sensation
- Skin contour irregularities
- Skin discoloration/swelling
- Anesthesia risks
- Unfavorable scarring
- Allergies to tape, suture materials, glues, blood products, topical preparations or injected agents
- Pain, which may persist
- Possibility of revisional surgery
Be sure to ask questions: It’s very important to ask your plastic surgeon questions about your procedure. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.
Where will my surgery be performed?
Ear surgery may be performed in your plastic surgeon’s accredited ofﬁce-based surgical facility, an ambulatory surgical facility or a hospital. Your plastic surgeon and the assisting staff will fully attend to your comfort and safety.
After surgery, bandages or dressings will be applied to keep your surgical site clean, protect it from trauma and to support the new position of the ear during initial healing.
You will be given speciﬁc instructions that may include: How to take care of your ears following surgery, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection, and when to follow-up with your plastic surgeon.
When you go home
Should any complications occur, notify your plastic surgeon who will determine if any additional treatment is needed.
Following your physician’s instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you speciﬁc instructions on how to care for yourself.
It’s very important to follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.
Preparing for ear surgery
Prior to surgery, you may be asked to:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Stop smoking well in advance of surgery
- Avoid taking aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
Special instructions you receive will cover:
- What to do on the day of surgery
- The use of anesthesia during your procedure
- Post-operative care and follow-up
Your plastic surgeon will also discuss where your procedure will be performed. Depending on the type of surgery you will undergo, your procedure may be performed in your plastic surgeon’s accredited ofﬁce-based surgical facility, an ambulatory surgical facility or a hospital.
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You’ll need help
If your ear surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you for at least the ﬁrst night following surgery.