Otoplasty

THE OPTOPLASTY PROCEDURE

Otoplasty procedure in Beaumont, Texas which corrects outstanding or protruding ears. Candidates for otoplasty include children and adults who have one or both ears that protrude or are too visible from a frontal view. The surgery can be performed as early as age 6 or 7 and the ears will retain their new shape throughout adulthood. This is often a good procedure to perform at an early age as it can spare children the teasing that is often associated with large or protruding ears.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Dr. O’Mara – facial plastic surgeon in Beaumont may perform the otoplasty procedure at an outpatient surgery center or in the office setting. Surgical times average two hours. Local or IV sedation is often used for adult patients and older children, while general anesthesia is commonly used for young children. Incisions are placed behind the ear, which avoids a visible scar. A small amount of excess cartilage is removed as necessary, and the ear is then pinned back with sutures to a precise, normal-appearing curvature. Careful measurements are made to ensure the ears are equally positioned.

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OTOPLASTY RECOVERY

Recovery after otoplasty takes approximately one to two weeks. Patients may experience some discomfort which can be countered with medication. In addition, some swelling and redness may occur. A bandage is often applied after surgery and then replaced within a few days by a lighter, headband-like dressing. Sutures are typically removed after one week. Work and school can often be resumed after five to seven days, and more strenuous activities and exercise can be resumed after three weeks.

FAQ

I am a 22 year old exercise fanatic. I want to have an Otoplasty procedure done. How soon can I start exercising after my surgery?

You can start on light treadmill walking after 10-14 days, but wait approximately 3 weeks for full exercise. Ear pain will most likely be your limiting factor until then. Also, do not wear earphones or sunglasses for approximately one month.

My son is 5 years old and has very large ears that also stick way out from his head. I feel he is a candidate for otoplasty. My husband and I always tell him he is perfect just the way he is. He will start school this fall and we are concerned about the social ridicule he will most likely receive. Should we approach this surgery with him now or wait until the children start making fun of him in school?

If your son has outstanding ears but hasn’t expressed to you self-consciousness about them, I see no reason to pursue an otoplasty at this time. However, if he is keenly aware of this issue, otoplasty can be performed as early as 6-7 years of age once the ear further matures in size. If he has not shown any concern for his ears, surgery can be delayed indefinitely. A gentle way to approach the subject is to ask him if he likes his ears better “this way” while you hold them back closer to his head. No matter whether otoplasty is performed as a child or an adult, it remains one of the most satisfying, long-lasting procedures performed.

My five year old son has very large protruding ears. I know that he will endure ridicule and teasing if we do not have this corrected. I would like to know if it is safe to have an Otoplasty performed on a child and what type of anesthesia and medication will be required?

Otoplasty is one of the most rewarding procedures I offer. I usually like to wait until approximately 6-7 years of age, depending on the growth and maturity of the patient. For children, I perform otoplasty under general anesthesia as an outpatient surgery. The surgery takes approximately one and a half to two hours and an overnight dressing is placed. Oral pain medicine and antibiotics are given for several days after surgery. Adult patients may undergo this procedure in an office based procedural room. When otoplasty is performed on a child, the ears retain their shape into adulthood as the patient continues to mature.

I’m 27, and I just got engaged. My fiance loves me the way I am, but I’d like to get ear surgery to fix how far my ears stick out as a surprise. I think she would love the new look. My wedding is in nine months. Is there enough time for me to get ear surgery and be completely healed by the wedding?

You have more than enough time to undergo otoplasty and be healed before your wedding. I would recommend approximately three months of healing before your wedding, so you have a few months to make your decision. You may want to hint around to your fianc that you are serious about doing it. I believe it is better for your significant others to be aware of your intentions so that it doesn’t come as a total surprise to her.

My child is only 4, but the children at preschool make him feel bad about how much his ears stick out. It makes me very sad that he has become sensitive about his appearance at such a young age, but he has asked me why his ears are so different. He seems very upset about it. Is he old enough for an otoplasty?

I generally perform otoplasty in children a little older than your son. I would recommend wait another couple of years. His ears will be a more mature size, and he will tolerate the postoperative recovery more smoothly. Parents usually will wait until their child is in early grade school to have this procedure done.

I’m a junior in high school, and I have a chunk out of one earlobe from my earring getting caught and ripping out when I was 13. I’m very self-conscious about it, and I want it to be fixed so I can look great in my senior pictures next year. How long would I have to take off school to recover from ear surgery?

This is a relatively easy procedure that I perform in my office procedure room. It is done with local anesthesia and usually takes about twenty minutes to complete. The earlobe can be repierced after two months of healing. If you want to wear earrings for your senior pictures, plan to have your earlobe repaired at least two months prior. You only need to take off time from school the day of your procedure. You can return to school the next day, but refrain from strenuous activity for a couple of weeks.

I fly a lot for business trips. I want to get an otoplasty to fix how my ears droop at the top. My ears tend to be sensitive to pressure changes, so I experience a lot of discomfort when I fly. Will it be even more uncomfortable to fly while I recover from my otoplasty?

The ear discomfort that you currently experience is probably due to inability to equalize the pressure differential between the cabin pressure and the space behind your eardrum. After otoplasty procedure, there will be some discomfort of the external ear, or auricle, but an airplane flight should not cause an increase in ear pain. I ask my patients not to travel after surgery for at least a week. By then, most of the postoperative pain will be greatly diminished.

I’d like to get my ears pinned because they protrude very far and are mouse-like. How long does this surgery take? Is it invasive?

Surgery for protruding ears is called otoplasty. This typically takes approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours and can be done under general anesthesia, IV sedation, or local anesthesia. An incision is made behind the ear, through which the cartilage can be trimmed and reshaped for a more desirable appearance. A dressing is placed over the ears for 1-2 days. This is a very rewarding procedure for my patients.

My ear lobes are incredibly large and I would like to reduce them by almost half. Can this be done during typical otoplasty surgery?

Ear lobe reduction is a relatively straightforward adjunctive procedure that can be done during standard otoplasty surgery. There are many techniques to reduce large ear lobes. I usually will mark the proposed earlobe edge to the degree I feel would look the best and have the patient view it in the mirror to confirm. Ear lobe reduction does not increase the postoperative healing time or discomfort.

How is incisionless otoplasty performed? Are there any scars or tissue damage after the procedure?

The incisionless otoplasty is performed by threading needles with suture through precise areas of the skin behind the ear. Once the suture is threaded beneath the skin and passed through the cartilage, it is tightened to the desired degree thereby pinning the ear back. There can be small pinpoint scars where the needle was introduced through the skin, but the amount of scar tissue is negligible.

I’m thinking about ear pinning surgery but am apprehensive because I don’t want the scarring to be noticeable. Will it be? Will I be able to wear a ponytail or will the scars be too visible?

Otoplasty incisions are placed behind the ear in a vertical fashion. There are no incisions on the front of the ear, but there may be some redness of the auricle for several days. Because the incisions are placed on the back side of the ear, I have not found this to be a problem in any of my otoplasty patients. Once adequate healing has taken place, you should be able to wear your hair in a ponytail without concern for visible scarring.

My daughter was born with really large, prominent ears that stick out. She’s only 10 but she gets teased a lot at school and she’s begging me to do something about it. Is she too young for ear pinning surgery?

Absolutely not.  Otoplasty can be performed any age after 5-6 when the ears have reached full size.  In adults, this can be performed under local anesthesia, but I would recommend performing your daughter’s otoplasty under anesthesia.