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Oto means ear, and plasty means to shape or reform. The operation of Otoplasty means to reshape or reform the ear. The most common condition that warrants an Otoplasty is the prominent ear. The prominent ear is the ear that protrudes or sticks out too far from the head. Through an incision made on the back of the ear, surgical techniques such as cartilage removal and reshaping can be performed to restore normal ear shape.
Otoplasty is commonly done on children once the ear is fully developed (ages 4-6). Most often, ear surgery is performed on children between the ages of four to fourteen. Ears that “stick out” are often the source of teasing and ridicule in young children. This teasing can have a devastating effect on the child’s psyche.
Otoplasty is not limited to children and may also be performed on older patients. Cosmetic procedures are available for those individuals with large ears and for those with congenital (birth) irregularities that detract from their appearance. Additionally, an individual’s ears may exhibit abnormal traits due to their genetic make-up or an accidental injury, such as losing an ear or part of an ear. Otoplasty is used successfully for each of these situations.
When the procedure is performed on children general anesthesia is used. When the procedure is performed on adults IV sedation and local aesthesia or general anesthesia may be used. The standard otoplasty procedure brings the ears closer to the head. Otoplasty begins with an incision hidden in the crease behind the ear. This incision allows the cartilage located behind the ears to be reshaped in order to position them closer to the head. The procedure takes approximately one to two hours, depending upon the extent of surgery.
There are various surgical techniques involved in correcting irregularities other than protruding ears. These techniques can be discussed with your physician during the initial consultation.
The ears are usually bandaged for ten to fourteen days, and while you sleep a headband is used for one or two months. Any pain can be treated effectively with oral medication. While complications are rare, patients can minimize potential problems by carefully following the post-operative directions.
Regardless of the procedure, patients have been pleased with the long-lasting improvements to their appearance offered by ear surgery.