Surgery of the Ear / Otoplasty

Surgery of the ear, or otoplasty, is performed to set prominent ears back closer to the head. The operation may be done on children after the age of 4 or 5. The earlier the surgery, the less teasing and ridicule the child will have to endure. Ear surgery on adults is also possible.

For children with prominent ears, parents should be aware of their child’s feelings about the protruding ears but should not insist on the surgery until your child wants the change. Children who feel uncomfortable about their ears and want the surgery are generally more cooperative during the process and happier with the outcome.

Surgery of the ear is usually performed as an outpatient procedure either in the hospital or our office surgery center. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with intravenous sedation. The procedure usually takes between two and three hours if both ears are operated on.

The procedure involves and incision in the back of the ear to expose the ear cartilage. A combination of procedures are then performed including removing some cartilage, sculpting a portion of the cartilage, and/or suturing the cartilage to create a natural fold. The procedure will leave a faint scar in the back of the ear that is difficult to see once it has faded.

After the surgery the head is wrapped in a bulky bandage. Their may be a small amount of discomfort which is relieved by medication. Within a few days, the bulky bandages will be replaced by a lighter head dressing similar to a headband. Stitches are usually removed in about a week. Any activity in which the ear might be bent should be avoided for a month or so. Most adults can go back to work about five days after surgery. Children can go back to school after seven days or so, if they’re careful about playground activity.

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