Otoplasty, or cosmetic ear surgery, can correct asymmetry, reduce the size of large ears or permanently place ears that stick out closer to the head (also known as ear pinning). In some cases, otoplasty can make a world of difference to a child who has been picked on or bullied because of his or her protruding ears. Below, Dr. David Magilke, a facial plastic surgery specialist in Portland, answers some frequently asked questions about otoplasty.
Am I a Good Candidate for Otoplasty?
Otoplasty is a safe and relatively quick outpatient procedure. Most of your ears’ cosmetic abnormalities can be easily resolved through otoplasty. A “yes” answer to one or more of the following questions is a good indication of candidacy for this procedure:
- Are your ears uneven or asymmetrical?
- Are your ears excessively large, or do they noticeably protrude from the sides of your head?
- Are your lobes too long or have they been stretched or torn?
- Do you find yourself trying to hide your ears behind your hair?
How Is Otoplasty Performed?
Otoplasty is usually an outpatient procedure performed under local anesthesia. For children, general anesthesia is sometimes used to ensure they remain still during the operation. For procedures correcting protruding or asymmetrical ears, incisions are made behind the ear, where scarring will not be visible. For injured ears, thickened scar tissue is removed and the remaining tissue and cartilage is sculpted. After most procedures, the surgeon will apply a pressure dressing to hold the ears in place while they heal.
How Long Does it Take to Recover?
While the healing process is different for everyone, most patients only take a week or two to recover. Pressure dressings applied immediately after surgery must be kept on for five to seven days. Once the dressing is removed, results should be immediately visible, though some residual swelling may remain for a couple weeks. It’s possible to experience numbness for one to two months following surgery, but full sensation will return after that time, and the new shape of your ears will be permanent.
Otoplasty is a fairly quick procedure that can lead to both physical and psychological improvement in your or your child’s quality of life. Email or call Portland Face Doctor today at (503) 297-6511 to schedule a consultation with Dr. David Magilke.