Otoplasty

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Prominent or protruding ears can be a source of embarrassment for the individual with this condition. Otoplasty is the medical name for the plastic surgery procedure used to “set back” or “pin” the ears. It is a procedure with a high degree of satisfaction as the individual no longer has to worry about the shape of their ears. Otoplasty surgery does not affect the hearing of the individual.

The reason the ears protrude is because a structure of the ear called the antihelix (see diagram) does not fold completely causing the ears to “stick out”. The surgery involves folding the antihelix correctly with sutures so the ear is positioned closed to the head.

Age for Otoplasty

Reshaping ears can be performed on children or adults. Generally, the child needs to be 15 years old before having the surgery. This is because earlier than age 15 the child’s ear cartilage is too thin to reliably hold the sutures that are used to keep the ears in their new position.

The Otoplasty Surgery

The surgery for an otoplasty is usually done with you under a general anesthetic (children are always done with general anesthesia) so you are unaware of any portion of the procedure. A small incision is made on the backside of the ear and permanent sutures are used to bend the ear and hold it in the corrected position. Sometimes a small section of the ear cartilage is also removed to assist with the ear repositioning. Long acting numbing medicine is given at the end of the procedure so there is no discomfort immediately after surgery. Dissolving stitches are used to close the skin incision in otoplasty procedures.

After otoplasty surgery

The healing process takes about 1 week before the swelling and bruising from the otoplasty subsides. However, one can return to activity in a day or two. One needs to be careful not to put the ears at risk for injury with too much activity for about 2 months after the procedure to insure adequate time to fully heal.

Dr. Lehocky has a great deal of experience with reshaping ears even to the extent of fully creating complete ears for children born with one or both of their ears missing. He will reshape your ears to produce a natural looking attractive result.

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