Otoplasty, or cosmetic ear surgery, is done to improve the appearance of the ears. It can alter the proportion, shape and even position of the ears. It is often done on both ears to ensure they match. Ear surgery done on both ears is sometimes called bilateral otoplasty.
Otoplasty is often done to correct disfigurements caused by birth defects or injury. It is also done if somebody has ears that stick out too far.
What Does the Procedure Involve?
The techniques used in ear surgery vary, and the ones used depend on the problem being corrected. Otoplasty is usually performed at our outpatient surgical facility.
In ear pinning surgery, the doctor will make an incision either behind the ear or in the natural folds of the ear. The surgeon removes any excess skin and reshapes the cartilage. He then repositions the ear so it will lie more closely against the head. The procedure generally takes one or two hours.
The surgeon can use a variety of techniques during ear pinning. Cartilage sparing techniques emphasize the use of stitches to change an ear’s shape and position, while cartilage scoring emphasizes using incisions to remove, add or rearrange cartilage.
Other Reasons to Get Otoplasty
Ear reduction surgery is done on patients with abnormally large ears. The doctor removes excess cartilage and skin and then reshapes the ear so that it will look natural. Ear reduction surgery and ear pinning are often done together.
Reconstructive otoplasty is done to correct malformations caused by injury or a congenital defect. Cauliflower ear, for example, is caused by repeated blows to the ear that damage the cartilage. The surgical techniques vary depending on the problem.
Congenital defects that require a plastic surgeon’s attention include macrotia (abnormally large ears), microtia (abnormally small ears), Stahl’s ear deformity (pointed ears) and Cagot ear (a missing earlobe).
How Will the Patient Prepare?
Children undergoing otoplasty should be educated about the procedure. They should also be reassured if they get scared. Adults undergoing otoplasty should stop smoking several weeks before the surgery. They should also plan on taking a day or two off from work or school. Our doctor will give you specific instructions regarding pre-surgery and post-surgery requirements.
Who is a Good Candidate for Otoplasty?
The ideal candidate will have good overall health. Otoplasty is generally performed only on people whose ears have reached their full adult size, which generally happens at around four years old. If you are unhappy with your ears (or your child’s ears) for whatever reason, we encourage you to visit the office of Dr. J. Anthony Stephens, MD in Baton Rouge. Contact us today to request a consultation.