Ear Surgery, or Otoplasty, is usually done to set prominent ears back closer to the head or to reduce the size of large ears.
For the most part, the operation is done on children between the ages of four and 14. Ears are almost fully grown by age four, and the earlier the surgery, the less teasing and ridicule the child will have to endure. Ear surgery on adults is also possible, and there are generally no additional risks associated with ear surgery on an older patient.
Mr Klein recommends that parents stay alert to their child’s feelings about protruding ears, it’s important to 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.
Ear surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure in a hospital, or a surgery center. Occasionally, Mr Klein may recommend that the procedure be done as an inpatient procedure, in which case you can plan on staying overnight in the hospital.
If your child is young, Mr Klein may recommend general anesthesia, so the child will sleep through the operation. For older children or adults, he may prefer to use local anesthesia, combined with a sedative, so you or your child will be awake but relaxed.
When Ear Surgery is performed by a qualified, experienced surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. Nevertheless, as with any operation, there are risks associated with surgery and specific complications associated with this procedure. During your consultation the procedure will be explained in detail, including the risks and limitations.
Ear surgery usually takes about two to three hours, although complicated procedures may take longer. The technique will depend on the problem. With one of the more common techniques, Mr Klein makes a small incision in the back of the ear to expose the ear cartilage. Mr Klein will then sculpt the cartilage and bend it back toward the head. Non-removable stitches may be used to help maintain the new shape. Occasionally, Mr Klein will remove a larger piece of cartilage to provide a more natural-looking fold when the surgery is complete. Another technique involves a similar incision in the back of the ear. Skin is removed and stitches are used to fold the cartilage back on itself to reshape the ear without removing cartilage. In most cases, Ear Surgery will leave a faint scar in the back of the ear that will fade with time. Even when only one ear appears to protrude, surgery is usually performed on both ears for a better balance.
|A. Ears that appear to stick out or are overly large can be helped by Ear Surgery.|
|B. An incision is made in the back of the ear so cartilage can be sculpted or folded. Stitches are used to close the incision and help maintain the new shape.|
|C. Creating a fold in the cartilage makes the ear lie flatter against the head and appear more normal.|
Adults and children are usually up and around within a few hours of surgery, although you may prefer to stay overnight in the hospital with a child until all the effects of general anesthesia wear off. The patient’s head will be wrapped in a bulky bandage immediately following surgery to promote the best molding and healing. The ears may throb or ache a little for a few days, but this can be relieved by medication. Within a few days, the bulky bandages will be replaced by a lighter head dressing similar to a headband. Be sure to follow your surgeon’s directions for wearing this dressing, especially at night. Stitches are usually removed, or will dissolve, 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. You may want to ask your child’s teacher to keep an eye on the child for a few weeks.
Most patients, young and old alike, are thrilled with the results of ear surgery. But keep in mind, the goal is improvement, not perfection. Don’t expect both ears to match perfectly, perfect symmetry is both unlikely and unnatural in ears. If you’ve discussed the procedure and your expectations with Mr Klein before the operation, chances are, you’ll be quite pleased with the result.