The size, shape, and position of the normal ear is most often a familial characteristic. This can be observed by comparing parents, grandparents, and siblings of any patient under examination. Deformities of the ear are also of similar nature, including those which show variations of cartilage contour and the protruding ear, particularly when both sides are involved. The child with protruding ears is often subjected to unkind remarks that can be a source of significant distress. Feelings of self-consciousness, rejection, and hostility are underlying reactions to lack of peer acceptance. While adults generally do not express such attitudes openly, the grown individual frequently maintains the same sensitivities that were present during childhood.
Surgical correction can be performed quite effectively as early as the fifth or sixth year. By that time, the ear itself has already reached almost adult size so that there will be little if any subsequent change.
The operation is performed by repositioning or otherwise altering the flexible cartilage structures. There are several variations of deformity, each of which must be treated in a different manner. Basically, the surgical objectives are to reduce the protrusion and at the same time to provide a soft natural curve of the anti-helical fold when the ear is viewed from the side.
Surgical incisions are ordinarily placed behind the ear where any remaining surface scars will not be visible. Sutures are absorbable and do not require removal. Application of a head dressing is necessary so that both ears can be protected, swelling minimized, and discomfort limited. The head dressing will also permit the patient to turn from side to side when asleep without painful pressure. In this case, the surgical head dressing is worn or approximately 3 days after which time the remaining swelling will gradually disappear. After 3 days the patient is requested to wear a bandage at night only for a period of three weeks. Some variations in management should be anticipated, depending largely upon the specific correction under consideration.
The hazards or risks in this procedure are few. Probably the most common is residual irregularity in the cartilage when the ear is viewed from either frontal or lateral planes. It should be noted, however, that both ears are never exactly alike, even in the normal state, and that perfect symmetry is therefore not a reasonable expectation. The purpose of the head dressing and careful padding is to avoid fluid collection and therefore it should not be disturbed. Minor adjustments in earlobes may also be desirable afterwards. Finally, the operation has no adverse effects upon the hearing mechanism, which involves the inner ear structures.
The otoplasty operation is generally most successful and can truly provide satisfaction with improved personal confidence and self-esteem.No hospital stay is required and your recovery will take approximately one week.
Most otoplasty is performed under local anesthesia, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy. You`ll be awake but relaxed, and your ear will be insensitive to pain. (However, you may feel some tugging or occasional discomfort). Some surgeons prefer a general anesthesia. In that case, you`ll sleep through the operation.
An otoplasty may be performed in a surgeon`s office-based facility, an outpatient surgery center, or a hospital. It`s usually done on an outpatient basis, but some surgeons may hospitalize patients for a day when using general anesthesia. Certain conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure should be monitored after surgery, and may also require a short inpatient stay.
Your hearing will not be affected as only the outer ear is operated on.
The scars will be totally hidden behind the ears.
It is best to avoid lifting or straining for about three weeks following the operation as this can increase the healing time.