Otoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure to reshape and reposition the ear. This surgery corrects the defects in the ear caused due to the injuries or the structural ear defects present from the birth.
You can go for Otoplasty if you have:
• Abnormally large ears.
• Ears unsymmetrical with each other or with the face.
• Protruding ears.
• Physically injured ears.
Both adults and children (above 5 years) can go for Otoplasty surgery to create natural looking ears symmetrical to the face or restore their natural ears that may be deformed due to accidents.
Once you have decided to go for ear surgery, the first step is finding that right plastic surgeon for you. In your initial consultation session, the surgeon will consider several factors to determine your eligibility for the Otoplasty surgery. These include:
• Your expectations from the surgery.
• The physical condition of your ears – the shape, symmetry, size and placement.
• Your medical history – the operations and the treatments you had undergone.
• Your current medical conditions and any respective medications you take.
Based on these criteria, the surgeon will advise you the next step. If the surgeon deems you fit for the Otoplasty and finds your expectations achievable, then he will suggest you the necessary instructions to prepare for the surgery.
• No smoking: If you are a smoker, you will have to stop smoking for at least six weeks before the surgery.
• Health analysis: The surgeon will analyze the current medicines you take and may recommend the necessary changes.
• Stop medications: The surgeon will ask you to stop taking aspirin, herbal medications and anti-inflammatory medicines as they might increase the bleeding.
• Friendly environment: If a child is undergoing Otoplasty, then it is important to have an open conversation with the child and make them feel comfortable about the surgery.
• Additional clothes: It is essential to keep some set of clothes ready to wear after the surgery, not too tight to pull over the head.
The Surgery Day
Before the Otoplasty surgery, the surgeon administers general anesthesia to the patient. After the patient is unconscious, the surgery starts.
Generally, the surgeon performs any of the two types of Otoplasty surgeries.
1. Ear Pinning Surgery: In this traditional ear surgery, the ears that are large or protruding are pinned towards the back of the head to create a natural look.
2. Reconstructive ear surgery: Performed to correct ear defects created from birth or due to accidents like deformed ears, underdeveloped ears, abnormally small or large ears, folded ear lobe or intended ear lobe, etc.
Depending on the kind of surgery that is best suited and as discussed prior to the surgery, the surgeon will make incisions behind the ears and/or inside the ears.
Generally, children have softer cartilage, which makes it easier to reshape the ears. But with adults, the cartilages are much harder and thereby make require incisions to reposition the cartilage and reshape the ear. After adjusting the cartilage according to the requirements, the surgeon will stitch the incisions.
This surgery takes about two hours and once the procedure is completes, the patient will be taken to an observation room. Sometimes, the surgeon may keep the patient in for observation overnight especially when it is a child. Else he will discharge the patient after a few hours if everything looks fine.
Please note that the location of the incisions entirely depends on the kind of results you want. Generally, the incisions are made in locations that aren’t prominent, like in the back of the ear, which can be well hidden with one’s hair or inside the folds of the ear.
The results of this surgery are long lasting as long as you take precautions and take care of your ears properly. The surgeon will provide you instructions as you get discharged. It is important to follow every instruction dutifully to see the expected results from the surgery.
The dressing of The Ears
As you leave the hospital after the surgery, the ears will be dressed heavily. The surgeon may shift you to a lighter dressing a few days after the surgery, depending on the progress. He will remove the dressing completely after a few weeks, which will enable you to see the results of the surgery clearly.
• It is essential not to apply pressure on the operated ears. Avoid sleeping on the side or resting the head in the direction of the ears.
• You have to take rest for 24 hours after the surgery although you can move around a little to keep the blood flowing.
• You need to rest as much as you can in the first few weeks. Alternatively, you can sit by reclining your body and keep the head in a high place.
• Be careful while bathing or washing face to ensure that water does not affect the dressing.
Returning to Daily Life
You can start doing your normal work around the home after one week. You may also return to your work as long as it doesn’t require you to wear helmets, which may place pressure on your ears.
Go for regular check-ups with the surgeon and contact the surgeon immediately when you feel pain or a weird sensation in your ears weeks after the surgery.