Ear Surgery Otoplasty
What is ear surgery
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 more 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.
What ear surgery can treat
- Overly large ears — a 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
Ear surgery candidates
Children who are good candidates for ear surgery are:
- Healthy, without a life-threatening illness or untreated chronic ear infections
- Generally 5 years old, or when a child’s ear cartilage is stable enough for correction
- Cooperative and follow instructions well
- Able to communicate their feelings and do not voice objections when surgery is discussed
Teenagers and adults who are good candidates for ear surgery are:
- Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing
- Individuals with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for ear surgery
Ear surgery is a highly individualized procedure and you should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to ﬁt any sort of ideal image.
Ear surgery procedure steps
Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include local, intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
Step 2 – The incision
Correction of protruding ears uses surgical techniques to create or increase the antihelical fold (just inside the rim of the ear) and to reduce enlarged conchal cartilage (the largest and deepest concavity of the external ear). Incisions for otoplasty are generally made on the back surface of the ear. When incisions are necessary on the front of the ear, they are made within its folds to hide them. Internal, nonremovable sutures are used to create and secure the newly shaped cartilage in place.
Step 3 – Closing the incisions
External stitches close the incision. Techniques are individualized, taking care not to distort other structures and to avoid an unnatural “pinned back” appearance.
Step 4 – See the results
Ear surgery offers near immediate results in cases of protruding ears, visible once the dressings that support the new shape of the ear during initial phases of healing are removed. With the ear permanently positioned closer to the head, surgical scars are either hidden behind the ear or well-hidden in the natural creases of the ear.
Ear surgery results
Ear surgery offers almost immediate results in cases of protruding ears, visible when the dressings that support the new shape of the ear during initial phases of healing are removed. With the ear permanently positioned closer to the head, surgical scars are either hidden behind the ear or well hidden within the natural creases of the ear.
The results of more extensive ear surgery and reconstruction may appear in stages over time.
Ear surgery cost
Otoplasty cost can vary widely. A surgeon’s cost for ear surgery may vary based on his or her experience, the type of procedure used, as well as geographic location.
Many plastic surgeons offer patient ﬁnancing plans to cover the price of otoplasty, so be sure to ask.
Otoplasty costs may include:
- Surgeon’s fee
- Hospital or surgical facility costs
- Anesthesia fees
- Prescriptions for medication
- Post-surgery garments
- Medical tests
When choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area for ear surgery, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the ﬁnal cost of the surgery.