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The most common cosmetic problem that people have with their ears is that they protrude. Otoplasty is the name given to the operation to "pin back" the ears and to change their shape and contour. While otoplasty can be performed at any age after 4-5 years, it is often recommended in the pre-school years to alleviate possible teasing at school by other children.
Deciding On An Operation
Anyone interested in cosmetic surgery for himself/herself or for a child should consult a competent facial plastic surgeon. During the initial visit, the surgeon makes a thorough evaluation of the ears to determine whether surgery is indicated. The surgeon will then discuss any questions and concerns related to the surgery.
In addition to the skills of the surgeon, the patients realistic expectations about the results of the surgery and his/her general emotional state are important considerations. Mental attitude is as important as the ability to heal in evaluating candidates for facial plastic surgery.
Once surgery is agreed upon, preoperative photographs are taken to help plan the operation. These photographs are usually compared with similar ones taken sometime after the surgery and serve as a permanent before-and-after record of the results.
How Otoplasty Is Done
Otoplasty performed through incisions along the back of the ear to expose the ear cartilage. Portions of the cartilage may be removed and the remaining cartilage repositioned. Permanent sutures are often used to maintain the correction. The skin behind the ear is sutured, and a large soft tissue dressing secures and protects the ears in their new position for several days. The skin sutures are usually of the dissolving type.
Where Surgery Is Performed
The operation is usually performed in a hospital. It can be performed safely on an outpatient basis, but the physician may recommend a short stay in the hospital.
Keeping the patient comfortable
Most adolescent and adult patients need only a relaxing preoperative medication followed by a local anesthetic. Children's surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia.
After the operation, some swelling and bruising of the ears can be expected. The swelling usually subsides within the first few days and the bruising subsides within a couple of weeks. There will be mild discomfort for a short time after the surgery, but this is usually controlled easily with medication. Significant pain is quite rare. Most patients return to work within 1-2 weeks after surgery.
Results to expect
The degree of improvement will depend on the individual's physical characteristics and the extent of the surgery.
The risks are minimal. There are inherent risks in any surgical undertaking, however, and these should be discussed thoroughly with your surgeon. Many thousands of otoplasty operations are performed successfully each year.
Fees for cosmetic surgery depend on the extent and complexity of the surgery. Your surgeon and his staff will discuss costs before the operation. Fees for cosmetic surgery generally are expected to be paid in advance because this type of surgery usually is not covered by insurance. After the consultation in the office, the surgeon and his staff can advise you whether your insurance company will considering covering the costs of the operation.
Pre and Post Operative Photographs
For more Information about Facial Plastic Reconstructive Surgery, Visit the
American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Website