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Ears that stick out too far from the head can be a source of embarrassment and a target for teasing, especially for children. Ears that are too small or too large for your features may also impact your self-esteem. Ear surgery, or otoplasty, can create a more natural ear size, shape and position to help children and adults feel more confident about the appearance of their ears.*
Austin plastic surgeon Dr. David Dellinger has had extensive experience in performing ear surgery over his two decades in practice. At Elysian Plastic Surgery, we put the patient first to ensure not only that your results exceed your expectations, but that you or your child feels comfortable working with us every step of the way.
Contact us online or call our Austin office at 512-229-1978 to learn more your options for cosmetic ear surgery.
Children and adults can both be good candidates for ear surgery if they are in good health and have realistic expectations. Ear surgery can be performed on children once the ear has fully developed, which usually happens by 4 to 6 years old. Most children are 4 to 14 years old when they have ear surgery.
The most common reason to choose have ear surgery is to correct the shape of the protruding ears in order to bring the ears closer to their head for a better profile. This is known as otoplasty, sometimes called ear pinning. Ear surgery, though, can treat folded ear tips, reshape long or offset earlobes, correct torn earlobes or earlobes with keloid scarring, change the size of very small or large ears, improve the position of the ears, correct birth defects and repair damage from an injury.*
For children, ear surgery is performed under general anesthesia. Adults can have ear surgery under local anesthesia with IV sedation or general anesthesia. Ear surgery takes about 1 to 2 hours.*
Dellinger works through an incision in the crease behind the ear or tucks an incision into the folds of the ear where the scar won’t be visible. Because children have softer cartilage, Dr. Dellinger may use splints to sculpt the cartilage to reshape the ear. Adult ear surgery involves removing or repositioning cartilage because the cartilage is firmer. To correct ears that stick out, Dr. Dellinger may clear away the extra cartilage or soft tissue that prevents the ear from lying flatter to the head.
You should be able to go home the same day as your ear surgery but you should plan on taking it easy for about a week. Your ears will likely be bandaged for the first 10 to 14 days for support and protection. You should wear a headband when sleeping for 1 to 2 months and Dr. Dellinger may recommend keeping your head elevated when you lay down. You may be able to go back to work and resume light physical activities after a week.*
After ear surgery, you should see a change in your ear shape, placement or contours, with your final results becoming visible after about 2 weeks. Your results should be long-lasting.*
To schedule your ear surgery consultation, please call our Austin plastic surgery practice at 512-229-1978 or request a consultation online.
How much does it cost to have ear surgery?
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the average cost of ear surgery is $3,220. However, this is a rough estimate and does not reflect the full cost of the procedure, which can include the cost of anesthesia, surgeon fee, facility fee and post-operative garments.
Ear surgery is not typically covered by insurance as it is considered an elective surgery. If you’re concerned about the cost of otoplasty surgery, please view the financing options available at our practice.
What can I expect after otoplasty surgery?
Many men, women and children that have ear surgery report increased self-esteem and confidence. Protruding ears, congenital issues or other ear traumas are often less of a concern in everyday life. For children, they may feel less self-conscious about their appearance around their peers. Surgery may also help your glasses fit more comfortably.
Are there any risks involved with ear surgery?
There is minimal risk involved in ear surgery. However, as with any surgery, there is always a possibility for complications. These include excessive bleeding, infection, asymmetry and noticeable scarring. Working with a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in ear surgery and following pre- and post-surgery care guidelines can help reduce these risks of complications.
Is there a best age to have otoplasty surgery?
While ear surgery is quite common for children, there is no wrong age to have it. Most children have fully developed ears by the age of 5. If you are considering ear surgery for your child, make sure to discuss this with their primary care physician as well as a qualified plastic surgeon. They can help you decide whether or not your child is ready for this type of surgery.
How should I prepare for ear surgery?
Ear surgery is a relatively low-risk procedure. That said, there are some standard pre-surgery guidelines that should be followed to optimize your chances of a successful surgery. Dr. Dellinger will provide you with more detailed information. However, some standard guidelines include:
Is ear surgery painful?
Ear surgery is performed under general anesthesia to help keep you calm and comfortable during surgery. After surgery, most patients have minimal discomfort that can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication or prescriptions when necessary. There will likely be some swelling, and you may experience numbness afterward. However, swelling typically resolves within a few weeks and your sensation should return over time as the area heals.
During recovery, you should try and keep your head elevated to minimize any swelling. Lying in a recliner or using an extra pillow are good options for keeping your head elevated while sleeping. If you wear glasses, tape them up off of your ears to avoid aggravating the incision sites. Furthermore, wearing a headband around your head and ears not only helps keep the ear stable but provides added protection.
*This information is for education only, and is not meant as a guarantee of results. Your results may vary.