The Goal of an Otoplasty:
A cosmetic otoplasty is done to enhance the ear appearance. Most commonly, an otoplasty is performed to treat protruding (Dumbo) ears. Ear protrusion usually results from many structural issues with ears- namely a wide concha (the part that curves out from the ear canal and makes most of the ear’s width), lack of fold in the scapha (outer part of the external ear) and the angle at which the concha attaches to the skull bone (Mastoid-Conchal angle).
Some, or all, of these issues may be present in patients who present with protruding ears.
The second most common cosmetic surgery of the ears is done to improve the earlobes.
The third most common cosmetic surgery of the ears is done to repair torn earlobes.
The Surgical Otoplasty Procedure for Protruding Ears:
The degree of an otoplasty in each person varies based on the degree to which the scapha, concha, and mastoid-conchal angle is affected, and need to be corrected.
If there is an extremely obtuse mastoid-conchal angle, it will need to be reduced. It is done by placement of temporary, or permanent, sutures that tie the concha to mastoid and reduce this angle.
The width of the concha is physically reduced by taking a segment of cartilage out of it or by simply flattening its curve with stitches placed between the concha and the back of the scalp.
The ear fold is created either by scratching and folding the surface of the outer cartilage, or by using permanent sutures to create, secure, and hold this fold in a desired shape.
All this surgery is done with an incision made behind the ears, where the scar is hidden behind the pinna. After the correction of the ears the incision is repaired with fine stitches.
Once the goal of the surgery has been achieved, light dressings are applied to the ears and the patient goes home.
Recovery after Otoplasty for Protruding Cars:
Pain is usually minimal. Head dressings are used for 5-7 days after surgery. The patient can take a shower 2-3 days after surgery.
The stitches are removed in 7-10 days.
A head band is worn at night time to safe guard against accidental pull during sleep for 3-4 weeks.
Precautions are taken to avoid any external injury to the ears for 4-6 months.
Otoplasty to Enhance Earlobes:
With aging, there is a tendency for the earlobes to lose their youthful fullness and volume. Earlobes also tend to get elongated.
Volume and fullness of atrophic earlobes is restored with filler injections. Hyaluronic acid fillers or Radiesse injections are used to reverse this loss of lobe volume. Fat harvest from your own body can be used as well.
Lasers and Phenol peels are used to tighten earlobes and make them look youthful.
Elongated ear lobes are treated with surgical excision of the ear lobe redundancy.
Earlobes can get torn from the weight of heavy ear rings. Torn earlobes can simply be stitched and repaired as an out-patient local anesthesia procedure with minimal downtime.
What is the Best Age for Otoplasty for Protruding Ears:
Ideally, protruding prominent ears should be fixed early. Most ear growth is complete by the age of 6. That is about the time that children start school. It is best to fix this issue before children can become the subject of ridicule by a peer group and develop a mental complex about their appearance. Fixing it early saves the development of negative self-esteem.
Surgery is also more successful when done early in age. Ear cartilages are softer and more pliable at this age. They respond well to surgery. Later in life the cartilage of the ears gets stiffer and becomes less resilient to surgical techniques. Surgery gets more difficult as ear cartilage becomes stiff.
What are the risks of an Otoplasty?
An otoplasty is a very safe surgery. However, all surgeries have common risks of infection, bleeding and poor healing. In a healthy individual, this surgery is very safe.
Risk of Suture Extrusion?
Since permanent sutures are often used to create a new shape of the ears there is a small possibility of stitches working through the skin at some later date. However, since by then the healing has already taken place the extruded stitch can simply be removed.
Numbness can occur on all or part of the ear surface. Usually it is temporary and recovers with time.
Ear surgery (otoplasty) is a procedure performed to reshape the ear and give it a more normal appearance. The otoplasty surgery is usually done on ears that are too large or that protrude from the head. Many times, the problem is caused by an undeveloped middle fold of the ear. It is one of the few cosmetic operations performed on children.
During a Dallas otoplasty surgery procedure, the cartilage of the ear is weakened so that it bends into its new shape. At the same time stitches are placed in the cartilage to hold the ear in position until the new shape has formed. The results of otoplasty are subtle and strategic and can have a very positive effect on one’s overall appearance.
Learn about Male Otoplasty Surgery.
For a Dallas otoplasty consultation, contact the Cosmetic Surgical Center in Dallas, Texas. Dallas plastic surgeon Dr. Rai will answer all of your ear surgery procedural questions.