OTOPLASTY (EAR SURGERY)
Surgery performed by Dr. Schenden
The term “prominent ears” refers to ears that, regardless of size, “stick out”. The term “otoplasty” refers to surgical changes in the shape or position of the ear. The most common indication is a patient with prominent, but normally shaped, ears. In this situation, otoplasty is an enormously rewarding procedure for the surgeon and the patient/family, because high satisfaction can be expected in most cases. In addition, the technical maneuvers required are among the simplest in plastic surgery.
The objective of otoplasty is to set back the ears in such a way that the contour appears soft, natural, and in harmony with the face without any evidence of surgical intervention.
The overall size and shape of the ear is evaluated to determine if the ear is prominent with an otherwise normal size and configuration, or if there are abnormalities in addition to the prominence. After a thorough physical examination and a detailed analysis, otoplasty is individualized to patient characteristics. Otoplasty or ear reconstruction may be performed to meet aesthetic goals (improve shape), for reconstruction to correct acquired birth or traumatic ear deformities, or secondary to surgery such as a facelift.
THE BEST CANDIDATES FOR OTOPLASTY
There is no absolute rule about the ideal timing of when otoplasty should be performed. In young children with extremely prominent ears, a reasonable age is approximately 4 years. Regardless of the exact age, the procedure requires general anesthesia. In other cases, usually more minor, the parents may choose to wait until the child can participate in the decision. This may allow the procedure to be performed under local anesthesia, although it is rare that a child can tolerate local anesthesia before age 10.
The best candidates for otoplasty are patients seeking an improvement in the shape and symmetry of the ears. Ideal candidates are seeking an improvement but not perfection and are at least 4 years of age with adequate assistance during the postoperative recovery period.
PLANNING YOUR SURGERY
In the initial consultation, your surgeon will evaluate your health and carefully examine and analyze the ears. The individual components of the ear should be in harmony with the rest of the face. Surgical techniques are individualized based on the patient’s characteristics.
Our doctors make sure your questions are answered and your goals are understood. Patient expectations are important to discuss at the consultation. Be sure to mention smoking, medications, medical history, and previous surgeries.
PREPARING FOR YOUR SURGERY
Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on diet, medications, activity level, and smoking. If you smoke, plan to quit at least 4-6 weeks before the scheduled surgery. Avoid sun exposure before and after surgery as this may interfere with your scar.
WHERE YOUR SURGERY WILL BE PERFORMED
Corrective ear surgery is performed as an outpatient surgery. The facilities we are privileged to operate from include Columbia Surgery Center (our private surgical suite) and William Beaumont Hospital of Troy where Dr. Schenden is chief of plastic surgery.
TYPES OF ANESTHESIA
General Anesthesia is preferred for younger patients under the age of 10 years of age or I.V. sedation with local anesthesia (twilight anesthesia) for older patients.. Choice of anesthesia may be individualized based on complexity of the procedure and patient preference.
The final operative plan for otoplasty is a combination of surgical maneuvers based in part on the anatomic diagnosis of the ear deformity and in part on the surgeon’s personal preferences. The techniques we use have stood the test of time and are the simplest, most reliable, and least likely to cause complications or an “operated” look.
Otoplasty usually takes 1-3 hours, depending on the complexity. Surgical techniques are based on the specific ear anatomy findings, to reshape the cartilage framework and redrape the skin to achieve the desired outcome discussed at the consultation.
AFTER YOUR SURGERY
A soft bulky dressing is placed for 3–5 days.. Sutures are usually absorbable skin sutures that do not require removal. The patient is instructed to wear a loose headband at night only. The night headband is continued for 6 weeks.
Pain medications will be prescribed. Wound care will be demonstrated before and after surgery. Normally you may return to school or work after 1-2 weeks but with light activity for 6 weeks. Swelling will improve over the course of the next 3 months.
RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH OTOPLASTY
Every surgical procedure involves a certain amount of risk and it is important that you understand these risks and the possible complications associated with them. In addition, every procedure has limitations. An individual’s choice to undergo a surgical procedure is based on the comparison of the risk to potential benefit. Although the majority of patients do not experience complications, you should discuss them with your plastic surgeon to make sure you understand all possible consequences of otoplasty.
Call today to set up your consultation. 248.524.0620