Normal looking ears are usually not the center of attention, however large and abnormally positioned ears can be a lifelong source of embarrassment.
So if your ears are too large, uneven, misshapen, or stick straight out, you can benefit from a procedure called otoplasty.
Otoplasty procedure takes about two hours. In adults it is usually done in the office under local anesthesia. Children usually require general anesthesia. Otoplasty in children can be done any time after the age of five when ear cartilage is relatively firm and nearly adult-size. Young children do well with the procedure, so it’s wise to have this done early to protect your child from teasing that can damage his/her self-esteem.
During otoplasty, Dr. Ovchinsky makes an incision behind the ear in the skin crease so that the scar is well hidden. Excess skin is trimmed and ear cartilage gets exposed. The cartilage is then modified and reshaped with the use of special sutures to create folds that weren’t there before in order to give the ear a natural appearance. Same sutures are used to pin the ear down closer to the skull. The skin incision is then closed and a supporting bandage is placed over the ears.
After surgery patients experience very little pain, although ears may feel tender for several weeks. There may be some discoloration and swelling. Following surgery, you’ll wear a turban-like dressing to protect your ears, which is usually removed on the first postoperative day. After removal of the turban, you’ll wear an exercise headband over your ears when you sleep for the next three weeks. Children usually return to school a week after surgery. Adults often resume normal activities the day after.
Otoplasty is a surgical procedure which improves the appearance of the ears by changing their size and shape as well as setting them back to a more natural position.
During otoplasty, and incision is made in the crease behind the ear. The skin is then elevated off the back aspect of the ear cartilage. The shape of the ear cartilage is improved using permanent sutures, and the cartilage is set back closer to the skull using the same permanent sutures. The skin incision behind the ear is closed using an absorbable suture.
The best candidate for otoplasty is a physically healthy individual with realistic expectations who is looking to improve the appearance of large, protruding ears. Although it is typical to see younger patient with this complaint, it is not uncommon for adults to be interested in correcting the shape of the ears. The minimum age for otoplasty is 5-6 years, by which time ears have nearly finished growing and the children are emotionally ready to undergo a surgical procedure. There is no maximum age for otoplasty.
Otoplasty may take place in a surgeon’s office-based facility, an outpatient surgical center or a hospital.
General anesthesia is typically used for young children undergoing otoplasty, while local anesthesia with or without IV sedation is often used for older children and adults.
Otoplasty usually takes about 1.5-2 hours to complete.
The incisions for otoplasty are hidden in the crease behind the ears.
Because the incisions for otoplasty are well-hidden behind the ears, the resulting scars are well concealed.
Patients may experience some aching or throbbing of the ears for the first few days after otoplasty. The pain should not be anything out of the ordinary and is usually well controlled with routine pain medications.
There is typically some amount of swelling and bruising around the ears, which generally resolves within one week. There is a bandage around the ears immediately after the surgery which is removed the day after. Once the bandage is removed, Dr. Ovchinsky recommends using an elastic head band nearly all the time for the first week after the surgery, and at night only for the additional two weeks. The sutures behind the ears are absorbable and don’t need to be removed.
Most children can resume a fairly normal schedule within a week after otoplasty while adults can usually return to work within a few days. However, more strenuous activities and any activity which risks injury to the ear should be avoided for two months.
It is ok to start aerobic exercise 2 weeks after the surgery. However, strenuous activities, contact sports, and any activity risking injury to the ear should be avoided for at least one to two months.
The sutures behind the ears are absorbable and dissolve by themselves in one to two weeks.
As with all types of surgery there are potential complications associated with otoplasty and these may include blood collection (hematoma), poor scarring, infection, mismatched or artificial-looking ears, altered sensation over the ears, and recurrence of the ear protrusion.
Procedures performed solely for cosmetic purposes are typically not covered by insurance, though some amount of coverage may be available for the repair of abnormal body structure. Patients should check with their own insurance company about the availability of coverage.
Financing is available for many plastic surgery procedures and our office staff will be able to provide you with more information.
Wonderful experience every time I come to Plastic Surgery of Short Hills. Dr. Ovchinsky is the best. He performed a few procedures for me and he has done an amazing job! I am thrilled with my results! Whenever I come to his office, I never feel rushed and he always takes his time explaining all the procedures. The staff in his office is extremely nice and accommodating. The office manager Helen is very considerate and patient and answers all the possible questions that I have. Thank you Plastic Surgery of Short Hills!!!!