Plastic Surgery & Reconstructive Procedures

Ears / Otoplasty

Ears & Otoplasty
  • About

    Also known as cosmetic ear surgery, Otoplasty is a procedure to change the shape, position or size of the ears. Timing of the surgery depends on the maturity level and appropriate ear development, but the best time is age 3-6 years (before school) while the ear cartilage is still soft.

  • Potential Risk

    As with any surgical procedure, cosmetic ear surgery involves risks. The chance of experiencing complications during this treatment – or as a result thereof – is usually minimal.
    However, it is essential to have an understanding of the problems that occur:

    Infection

    Infection of the skin and cartilage is one of the most common otoplasty complications. It also poses the greatest threat to the success of the procedure.

    Should an infection develop after cosmetic ear surgery, it is generally relieved with antibiotic medication. If the condition results in the formation of scar tissue (an infrequent complication), then it may be necessary to address the area surgically.

    Scarring

    While scars are permanent, they’ll likely be hidden behind your ears or within the inner creases of your ears.

    Blood Clots

    The formation of a blood clot in the ear is another possible risk of cosmetic ear surgery. A very infrequent complication, blood clots can be removed with a needle or may simply dissolve naturally. If the patient experiences prolonged swelling and bleeding, then the surgeon should be contacted immediately to ensure that the ear is healing properly.

    Overcorrection

    • Otoplasty overcorrection can refer to:
      Placing The Ears Too Close To The Head
    • Contour Distortions
    • Inadequate Correction
    • Asymmetric Correction

    Loosening of sutures

    A risk commonly faced by children that have undergone Otoplasty is the loosening of sutures. Often a result of boisterous activity or inattention to bandaging, loosened or popped sutures may cause the ear to return to its original shape or position. Carefully following the surgeon’s post-operational instructions can prevent this from occurring.

    For adults and children alike, this usually means avoiding strenuous or vigorous physical activity should be avoided for at least a week following surgery. Generally, adults are advised to stay home from work for a day or two after surgery. Young children usually are told to stay home from school for about a week. A full recovery from cosmetic ear surgery usually takes about six weeks.

    Hearing Loss

    Many ear surgery patients wonder whether there is a risk of hearing loss associated with Otoplasty. Complications of this kind are infrequent and rare. Distortion of the auditory canal, through significant changes of the concha, can cause alterations in hearing.

    Unwanted Gradual Reversal of Treatment

    In most cases of cosmetic ear surgery, the results are satisfying and permanent. But because the ears consist mainly of cartilage (a tissue with excellent natural elasticity), patients who have had their ears surgically pinned closer to their head may observe a slight amount of “springing back” taking place in the years following the procedure.

    In many cases, facial plastic surgeons take measures to reduce this effect during the initial procedure through slight overcorrection, leaving a margin for the ears to shift a little bit, while maintaining a long-term natural shape. In some cases, patients may wish to undergo otoplasty revision surgery many years after their initial surgery to keep the look they desire.