Prominent ears can often be a source of self-consciousness. Otoplasty, sometimes referred to as ear pinning, is a surgical procedure designed to address prominent ears. During otoplasty, the shape or position of the ears can be modified. The size of the ears can also be altered if that is an issue.
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Removal of the cartilage that pushes the ear out from the head doesn’t result in any change to the intrinsic shape of the ear but rather just the position of it. When the shape of the cartilage requires alteration then various techniques can be employed to achieve a specific goal. The most common shape-changing maneuver utilizes sutures to bend the cartilage and create a more developed anti-helical fold. Sometimes the lobule (lobe) must also be brought in or reduced in size.
OTOPLASTY FOR CHILDREN
Otoplasty is commonly performed on young children. Patients must be at least 5 years old, at which point the ears have fully developed. Performing the surgery prior to starting school can benefit children with prominent ears by eliminating the source of teasing from others. Another benefit at this age is that the cartilage is more pliable and easier to work with. Many adults also elect to have otoplasty later on in life in combination with facelifts when their ears become more noticeable.
DR. FRANKEL’S NOTES
“I enjoy performing Otoplasty because it’s variable depending on the patient’s ears and anatomy and very rewarding for the patients. It is not necessarily simple to obtain a natural looking outcome in every patient, and careful planning and attention to detail is required.
The usual course of Otoplasty involves some pain for 1-2 days and associated swelling of the skin around the ear with some red or bluish discoloration that subsides within a week. Patients can usually return to their social life within days of the surgery but are advised to wear a headband at night for the first three weeks.”
– Andrew Frankel, M.D.
Before and after
*Each patient is unique and individual results may vary.
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Preparation & Expectations
If your Otoplasty is being performed under anesthesia then lab work and a letter of medical clearance might be required. If the operation is being performed without an anesthesiologist, then no blood work or clearance is required.
Certain medications and substances that can cause excess bleeding during of after surgery will need to be avoided beginning a few weeks to a few days prior to your otoplasty. These include aspirin, ibuprofen, alcohol and salty foods. Patients will also need to cease smoking prior to surgery.
Length of surgery
Depending on the extent of the surgery, otoplasty typically ranges from one to two hours.
Dr. Frankel will be able to give you an estimate during your consultation.
Recovery following otoplasty may involve some pain, which typically passes after one to two days.The full length of recovery is usually seven to ten days, though restrictions will be put in place to protect the ears from trauma for several weeks.
Pain medication can be prescribed. There will be some swelling around the ear, which may involve discolorations in the skin of a red or bluish hue. This usually subsides within a week. Removable sutures will be taken out after seven days.
A headband will need to be worn at night for the first three weeks.
Find out more about the surgical process and how to prepare for surgery.