Surgery to improve the appearance of the ears is called an “Otoplasty.” There is a wide spectrum of conditions which can affect the appearance of the ears. In Our practice, most individuals are interested in reducing the size, or prominence, of the ears. However, there are many individuals who have sustained an injury to the ear and would benefit from an otoplasty as well. This could include animal bites, lacerations and accidents which also result in torn earlobes. Patients who undergo this surgery for prominent ears are extremely satisfied by the procedure.
An otoplasty is surprisingly complex. The appearance and prominence of the ear is governed by a delicate balance among the curvatures in the cartilage of the ear. Changing the shape of one area, therefore, causes changes in the shape of surrounding areas. In order to be successful, each maneuver must complement each other. These include such things as cartilage scoring, excision, and cartilage stitches. A careful interplay of all of these techniques will produce the desired result. Since each individual is unique, the exact surgical plan can not be determined until a full examination of the ear is completed.
There is relatively little discomfort associated with an otoplasty. A compressive head and ear bandage is applied immediately after surgery and has to be continuously worn for the first week. There is some bruising and mild swelling which usually resolves within a week. Although wearing the bandage as much as possible is encouraged, it can be removed during the day, after the first week. Strenuous activity, such as running and heavy lifting, should be avoided for at least one month to allow the delicate structures of the ear to heal in their new position.
This patient requested an otoplasty to reduce the prominence of her ears. She had been bothered by the excessive protrusion of the ears for many years. As you can see in the “Before” pictures, the upper portion of the ears “stuck” out from her head and was visible through her hair. The maneuvers used on her included an excision of a portion of the cartilage, a scoring of the cartilage to achieve weakening and multiple, precisely placed cartilage-shaping stitches. As you can see in the “After” pictures, the ears no longer are visible through her hair, the ears are closer to the side of the head, and the upper portion of the ears no longer appears as prominent as before. In addition, the ears remain very natural looking. The patient was extremely pleased with the results of surgery.