The surgery is preferably done before a child enters school, to avoid classroom teasing as this usually causes deep emotional scarring not always realized even by the child’s parents. It can be done anytime, however; some of the most satisfied patients are those who have had their protruding ears corrected in adult life, after years of “hiding them.”
Otoplasty is the only procedure benefiting both children and adults.
While the results of the operation are usually dramatic, you should realize that perfect symmetry is not reasonable to expect. Both ears are not alike even in the natural state. Frequently, they are not set at the same distance from the scalp and they are not attached to the head at the same level. Small differences do not defeat successful improvement since both ears are rarely seen at the same time. Every effort is made to obtain the best possible symmetry.
The patient is usually discharged from the hospital the same day, after surgery. The operation may also be carried out without hospitalization, under local anesthesia. There is very little pain or discomfort following this type of surgery. You are required to wear a turban-type bandage over the ears for two days, following which hair can be washed. A headband is then worn day and night for one week and for another week just at night.
The modern technique involves reshaping the ear cartilage, rather than excessive cartilage removal. Permanent sutures are inserted under the skin to hold the ear in the new position. Sometimes, these sutures start to be rejected, producing a small sore or a crust behind the ear. Usually, such sutures can be removed under local freezing without compromising the result of the operation. At times, however, they may have to be replaced, necessitating minor outpatient surgery. Such a temporary drawback is acceptable in order to avoid a possible irreversible deformity resulting from cartilage excisions.
Although the risks are very small, we will discuss them with you during your consultation visit.
Dr. Conrad applies his Facial Plastic Surgery specialty training together with his complete knowledge of deeper anatomy to obtain a functioning and natural appearing ear.Back