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Ears are sensitive—and so are the people who sport them. Large ears or ears that stick out in an unappealing way can lead to self-consciousness or ridicule, especially among children. Otoplasty is an ear surgery which can reduce the size of ears, set overly prominent ears closer to the head or reshape ears or earlobes to correct aesthetic problems.
Surgery is a personal decision. Individuals who are unhappy with the size, shape or position of their ears may find their appearance enhanced and their confidence boosted by undergoing otoplasty. While available to all ages, the surgery is most commonly performed on patients between the ages of four and 14.
Usually conducted as an outpatient procedure, an ear surgery requires a general or local anesthetic and takes two to three hours to complete. The most common technique involves making an incision on the back of the ear where cartilage will be removed or resculpted and the ear will be pushed inward toward the head. The tissue is folded over for a more natural looking effect that mirrors the crease of the ear. The new shape may be maintained with non-removable stitches. Surgery is almost always performed on both ears to maintain balance.
All surgeries involve some level of risk. Although considered safe, otoplasty carries certain risks including blood clots, scarring, infection, pain, bruising, swelling, bleeding and problems associated with anesthesia or allergic reactions to medication.
Patients should wear a bandage for a few days to mold and heal the ears. The bandage will be replaced by a headband-type dressing designed to hold the ears in place. Ears should be protected from any activity that might cause bending for at least a month. Adults can return to work within five days of the procedure, and children are advised to stay out of school about seven days.
A follow-up visit will be needed to evaluate results and monitor healing. Your follow-up appointment will be scheduled at the time of your surgery.