Otoplasty (ear surgery) is a cosmetic procedure to improve the appearance of the ears. Ear surgery does not affect hearing and provides significant psychological benefits to anyone who has been teased about ear size and/or shape has had a serious ear injury or simply wants to improve their appearance. Otoplasty is most often performed to set unusually protruding ears closer to the head (ear pinning) or to reduce the size of abnormally large ears. Ear surgery may also be helpful in repairing the following:
New ears or parts of ears can be constructed for patients who are missing them from causes that include birth defects, traumatic injuries, and skin cancers. People of any age who feel self-conscious about their ears may be good candidates for ear surgery, although it is typically performed on children after age 4. Ears are almost fully developed by age 6, so early surgery can help build self-confidence when a child begins going to school.
Ear surgery generally takes two to three hours on an outpatient basis. The type of anesthesia we use typically depends on the age of the patient, with general anesthesia recommended for very young patients and local anesthesia plus a sedative recommended for older children and adults.
Your ears may ache or throb for a few days, but most patients feel normal within hours after surgery. We prescribe medication to help alleviate any discomfort. A few days after otoplasty, we replace the bandages around the head with a surgical dressing and a headband worn for several weeks.
Torn earlobes can be safely corrected using surgical earlobe repair techniques in the office under local anesthesia. The earring hole is either completely torn or elongated to the point that an earring will not stay in place. We will discuss the most appropriate earlobe repair technique with the patient based on the location of the injury. Once the earlobe is fully healed, it can be re-pierced.