Why you might need?
Otoplasty is a surgical procedure to change the shape of your ears, particularly if they are considered to be protruding. It can be used to correct both minor and major deformities and may be used for any of the following reasons:
- To correct a deformity in your ears
- To make your ears symmetrical
- To make your ears smaller
Otoplasty can be performed on anyone from the age of around 5-6 years old as this is when ear cartilages reach their normal age.
Before carrying out your surgery, your consultant will discuss your medical history with you, to include, but not limited to, any medications you are taking, allergies, smoking habits and previous surgeries you may have had. It is also possible to create a computer simulation of your ears to show what you can expect from the results of the surgery.
This procedure is usually carried out under general anaesthetic, although in adults it can also be done with local anaesthetic.
Your surgeon will make a cut on the back of your ear to allow them to make the agreed rearrangements or removal of the cartilage, soft tissue and skin of the ear. They may also use stitches to achieve the shape required. The original incision will be closed with stitches, which will either need to be removed at a later date or, if they are dissolvable stitches, they will fall out by themselves.
If your operation requires alterations to both of your ears, your surgeon will then take measurements of the first ear to use as guidelines for completing the procedure on the second ear.
Usually you will have a bandage wrapped around your head after your surgery, to apply pressure to your ears and reduce the risk of blood collecting under the skin. This will be removed at your surgeon’s discretion, at any time from the day after to a week after your surgery, and you may be given a headband to replace it. You may also be given an ointment to apply to the area surrounding the cuts to your skin.
As with all surgical procedures, there are risks involved with otoplasty and your surgeon will discuss these with you before undertaking the procedure. These could include:
- Collection of blood under the skin (haematoma) – this may require removal which can be achieved either with a syringe or a short surgical procedure.
- Loss of sensation on the back of the ear – if this occurs it is usually temporary and will heal in 6 months or less.
- Asymmetry of the ears – Most people’s ears are slightly asymmetrical, so this should not be considered a major complication. However, should pronounced asymmetry occur, it may be recommended to undertake a second surgery to correct this.
You will usually be required to stay overnight but, in some cases, you will be able to go home on the day of your surgery. You may experience mild pain after the operation, but this should be treatable with painkillers that may need to be taken for up to 5 days. If your bandage or headband causes any pain, you should consult your doctor about loosening it.
After the operation has been completed, your ears will likely show some moderate swelling and bruising, which should go down within 4-6 weeks.
You should be able to return to your normal daily activities after 1-3 days.