OTOPLASTY (EAR SURGERY)
Otoplasty, or Ear Surgery improves the shape, position and proportion of the ears. Although in the vast majority of cases, the defect in the ear structure is congenital, misshapen ears can also be caused by injury.
Otoplasty deals with the outer part of the ear that includes the ear cartilage and the overlying skin.
Protruding ears is the most common ear deformity with an incidence of 5% in general population. It is an aesthetic problem that usually affects child’s socialisation, psychology and self-esteem. This is the reason why parents seek for a treatment early in child’s life.
Recommended age for otoplasty;
There have been numerous reports in published literature regarding the recommended age for otoplasty. Latest guidelines however suggest that the best time for a child to undergo ear surgery is after the age of 5. By that time, ear cartilage has almost fully developed and is stable enough for correction.
Otoplasty for adults.
It seems that it is never too late for ear surgery. Ear cartilage in teenagers and adults provides a robust tissue for correction, although, on the other hand, being thicker and less elastic makes protruding ears prone to relapse.
Otoplasty is performed under local anaesthesia and mild sedation. Surgical planning depends on the problem addressed. Plastic surgeons can bring protruding ears closer to the head, reduce the size of unproportionally big ears, improve the shape of the ears or even use advanced reconstructive techniques to treat microtia (underdeveloped auricle) or anotia (external ear missing completely).
Dr Pagkalos has a published paper in the J Journal of Surgery presenting a novel otoplasty technique that has better outcomes and decreased recurrence rates. In the presented technique Dr Pagkalos resects the auricular posterior muscle and the adjacent soft tissue in order to create a pocket for the cartilage to insert. The pocket ensures that the cartilage is secured in a newly formed anatomical position. (Resection of the Auricular Posterior Muscle and Adjacent Soft Tissue for the Correction of Prominent Ears. JJ Surg. 2014, 2(1):015).
In preparation for ear surgery, patients should:
Obtain lab testing
Take certain medications or adjust their current medications
Stop smoking well in advance of surgery
Avoid aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs or herbal supplements
After surgery, a tight bandage is applied to support the new position of the ear during initial healing. The bandage is removed after 3 days.
After the 3rd day post-OP, we put a lighter, less tight bandage that patient wears during sleep. This light bandage is removed 1 month post-OP.
Otoplasty results are immediate and should last a lifetime. According to realself.com, ear surgery enjoys big patient satisfaction reaching a “worth-it” rating of 97%.