Ear surgery (OTOPLASTY)
EAR SURGERY – Otoplasty
Prominent ears can be a source of embarrassment and self-consciousness for children and adults alike.
Otoplasty is a surgical procedure that is designed to correct the malformations of the auricle that make the ear ‘protrude’. Three different conditions can cause ears to stick out:
- Abnormal angulation of the ear to the head
- Excessive amounts of conchal cartilage
- Lack of normal ear folds
Otoplasty can be performed on both adults and adolescents, however, having the operation at an early age, around 7 or 8, as soon as ears have fully developed, is highly desirable.
The procedure involves sculpting cartilage into a normal position in order to place the ears in better alignment with the head and achieve a natural, symmetrical appearance that blends with facial features.
The surgeon makes an incision behind the ear in order to reshape the ear cartilage, after which the skin is removed and the cartilage is folded with the help of the stitches. After the procedure the head is wrapped in a thick bandage to maintain the new position of the ears and left in place day and night for 48 hours. A few days later, the bandage will be replaced by a lighter one.
Otoplasty will have no effect on hearing.
OVERVIEW OF THE PROCEDURE
During the first consultation, the surgeon listens to the patient’s expectations and the motivation behind the request and assesses the degree of prominence of the ears in relation to other facial features. The surgeon will tell the patient what the procedure entails, and what post-operative care will be required. His discussion with the patient will be supplemented by reviewing computer images of what their ears should look like after surgery.
Patients must undergo a pre-operative medical check-up and consult an anaesthetist a few days prior to the procedure (at latest, 48 hours before the operation).
Otoplasty is generally performed under twilight anaesthetic, although based on clinical examination and the age of the patient, the surgeon may decide that general anaesthetic is more appropriate. The operation takes approximately one hour to complete and patients are usually discharged after 12 to 36 hours.
There is generally no pain in the post-operative period. Any discomfort that may be felt can be treated with painkillers.
There is minimal bruising and swelling after surgery.
It takes about a week and a half after the procedure for the swelling to subside.
Patients should be able to resume normal activity 4 or 5 days after the operation.
The scar behind the ear should rapidly fade away (except for patients prone to keloid formations). Patients should refrain from strenuous sports or combat sports for a full month and avoid going out into extreme cold as this may cause ears to ache. Patients are advised not to wear glasses for a few weeks after surgery.
The final results of the surgery will generally be apparent around one month after the operation.
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