Ear surgery, which is medically known as otoplasty, is a procedure that helps to improve the appearance of prominent or misshapen ears. The surgery can place prominent ears closer to the head or reduce the size of large ears. Otoplasty is commonly performed on children between 4 and 14 years of age, though the surgery can also be performed later on in life. When performed at an early age, the surgery can help spare children and young adults the psychological challenges that can be associated with prominent ears.
Potential candidates for ear surgery are over the age of four and are in good physical health with realistic expectations for the improvement of large or protruding ears. A private patient consultation with Dr. Buckingham is the best way to determine if otoplasty is right for you.
Ear surgery is primarily performed on children between the ages of 4 and 14, though it can also be performed later on with adults.
During the consultation for ear surgery, Dr. Buckingham will perform a complete facial analysis to determine the best techniques to achieve your desired results.
Any questions or concerns that you have about the ear surgery procedure or plastic surgery in general will be addressed at this time.
Dr. Buckingham may perform your ear surgery in an outpatient surgical center.
The different types of anesthesia that are used during ear surgery often vary by age. General anesthesia is typically used for younger children, while older children or adults usually receive general or a combination of local anesthesia and sedation.
For the otoplasty procedure, a small incision is made in the back of the ear to expose the ear cartilage. This is then reshaped and bent back closer to the head in order to achieve the desired result. Sutures may be used to reshape the ear or hold the ear in place.
A typical ear surgery procedure lasts one and one half hours, though the exact time will depend on the individual case.
Dr. Buckingham typically confines the incisions for ear surgery to the back of the ear, allowing them to be well-concealed and barely visible.
There is a slight scar that is left behind the ear after ear surgery, though it is well concealed and tends to fade throughout the years.
After an ear surgery there may be some throbbing and aching of the ears for the first few days. Medication will be prescribed in order to relieve any discomfort.
After otoplasty, the ears may be bandaged. Some discomfort, throbbing or aching of the ears can occur during the first few days though this can be alleviated with prescription medication. The bandages are usually removed after a few days and replaced with a lighter headband-like dressing. Some swelling, redness and numbness can also occur.
Work or school can usually be resumed within about five to seven days after the otoplasty surgery.
After an ear surgery, vigorous exercise should be postponed for three weeks. Activities that may involve hitting or bending the ear should be avoided for at least six weeks to prevent damage to the ear.