Ear reshaping surgery, also known as otoplasty, can improve the shape, position or proportion of the ear. It can correct a defect in the ear structure that is present at birth, or it can treat misshapen ears caused by injury.
Ear reshaping refers to a range of common cosmetic surgery procedures designed to correct the size and shape of the ear and ear lobe.
Many people who dislike the shape or size of their ears develop habits to mask the problem (e.g. wearing their hair long), often being unaware of the quick, safe and effective solutions provided by surgery.
Typical procedures include pinnaplasty (to pin back ears), ear reduction (to reduce the size of the ears) as well as the correction of a range of ear deformities either apparent at birth (easily corrected by moulding the ear as it grows) or acquired later in life through trauma, piercing, surgery or cancer.
For anyone unhappy with the shape or size of their ears, ear reshaping surgery may provide an effective solution, offering physical benefits and improving your confidence levels.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1) Do i need to wear a bandage after surgery?
We regard the healing cartilage like a healing bone and need to splint the ear in its new position as it heals. A week is long enough, but if you do not relish the idea of wearing a turban-like bandage, then headbands are adequate. If the surgery does not involve the cartilage, then a head bandage is not a requirement and the stitches can be masked with simple tape.
2) Do i need to stay in hospital overnight?
Ear surgery is mostly an outpatient procedure under local anaesthetic, but, if there is a general anaesthetic, then it becomes a day case, going home an hour or two after completion of the procedure.
3) What are the risks of otoplasty?
Bleeding and bruising is the most common risk and there is always some swelling. The purpose of the head bandage is to reduce this risk and speed healing. The scars from the setting back of prominent ears (‘bat ears’) are behind the ear, but on occasions, these scars, in a susceptible person, can become hypertrophic, that is raised and pink, gradually resolving over some months, or even keloid with scars that continue to grow to the point where they may become visible. We can mitigate this with the scar treatment.
Infection and necrosis, (loss of tissue) is unusual and would be treated early.
Asymmetry, where the ears are not exactly the same, is actually quite common, because the ears are often not comparable in the first place. Fortunately, it is quite difficult to see both ears at the same time to make this comparison.
4) What does ear reshaping surgery involve?
An ear reshaping surgery (also known as otoplasty) for an older child, age 6 and over, or an adult, can be performed by one of our plastic surgeons under local anaesthetic.
This minor surgery usually involves making a single incision behind the ear, exposing the cartilage. The cartilage is scored and stitched to produce the desired position and shape.
5) How long is the recovery time after ear reshaping surgery?
After the first 24-72 hours, most of the initial swelling from the ear reshaping surgery will begin to dissipate.
Between 72 hours and a week, many patients will feel comfortable enough to return to work depending on their hairstyle and tolerance of the swelling regarding both social situations and responsibilities involved at work.
After 3 months the swelling should have completely subsided, and all that remains are slightly pink scars where the incisions were made. The scars are very small on the back of the ear and can be settled faster with the use of scar optimizing gels.
6) Is ear reshaping surgery painful?
Most patients only have minor pain and discomfort during the days following the ear reshaping surgery, this can be controlled with over the counter medications such as paracetamol and anti-inflammatory tablets.
Ears can be tender for 1-2 weeks following the initial surgery if the patient bumps their ear. However, by this time most patients are pain-free.