Ear surgery, medically known as otoplasty, can reshape the ears into a more pleasing shape. If you were plagued as a child by misshapen or protruding ears, otoplasty may be a choice for you. Otoplasty can also correct damage to the ears caused by birth defects or trauma. The procedure is also performed on children and teenagers to minimize damage to the self esteem that may occur from having ears that stick out.
Otoplasty surgery includes 3 basic types of ear surgery:
- Correction or reduction of overly large ears
- Repair or restructuring of poorly shaped or damaged ears
- Correction of protruding ears
Pediatric otoplasty is performed on patients between the ages of 4 and 14 to correct abnormalities such as birth defects and trauma but more commonly to reduce the protrusion of ears. Some children are born with ears that simply “stick out”.
It is highly embarrassing to a child particularly as they approach adolescence. Otoplasty can provide relief for the child and parents alike as the appearance is improved through “ear-pinning” so that the ears lie in a more normal position closer to the skull.
Otoplastic surgery can dramatically improve the self esteem and can eliminate damage to the ego that can occur from other’s thoughtless comments that often occur in childhood. Even if a parent knows that their child will likely need ear surgery, most otoplasty surgeons will require that they wait until the child is age 4 so that the ears are no longer growing as fast.
Adult ear reconstructive surgery may be done for the same reasons as pediatric procedures including protruding ears and defects to the ear structure but getting otoplasty to reduce the overall size of the ear is also common.
A condition known as macrotia (excessively large ears), though fairly rare is a reason for otoplastic surgery as the ears do not stop growing and may continue to increase in size well into old age.
Some adults may also have otoplasty performed because they have stretched earlobes, perhaps from wearing large earrings for a number of years. Trauma to the ears can also be a reason for adult cosmetic ear surgery.
Though pediatric otoplasty most often requires general anesthesia where the child is completely sedated and unconscious during the procedure, adult otoplasty can sometimes be performed under twilight anesthesia or even occasionally under local anesthesia.
This will reduce the overall cost of otoplasty as no anesthesia fee will be required. In addition, the recovery period immediately following ear revision surgery will be shorter.
Whether adult or pediatric otoplasty is being considered, it is important to choose a cosmetic surgeon who is skilled and experienced at performing similar procedures. You should have a thorough consultation, complete with viewing of otoplasty before and after photos.
This will allow you to make sure that the otoplasty plastic surgeon you are choosing is well capable of producing positive results.