Did you know that in the US, more than 1.8 million cosmetic surgical procedures were performed in 2019?
Otoplasty was one of these procedures. Otoplasty is the medical term for cosmetic ear surgery. ‘Oto’ means ‘ear,’ and ‘plasty’ refers to ‘forming’ or ‘molding.’
The goal of otoplasty is to correct/improve the appearance and function of the ear. During the procedure, a cosmetic surgeon will adjust the size, shape, and positioning of the ears.
Are you interested to learn more about how this procedure works and what the results are likely to be? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the process that entails otoplasty.
What Is Otoplasty?
The otoplasty surgical procedure is performed on the visible part of the outer ear. The outer ear is composed of folds of cartilage covered with skin. This part of the ear starts developing before birth and then continues developing for years after.
The goal for cosmetic ear surgery is to create a natural shape, protrusion, and size to the ear while maintaining optimal facial proportions. Otoplasty can be performed to treat a variety of misshapen ears.
One of the most common types of otoplasty is called ear pinning. This involves ‘pinning’ the ears back closer to the head. This procedure is performed on those whose ears protrude noticeably from the sides of their head.
Those who consider otoplasty often feel their ears are too prominent, which causes them to feel overly self-conscious. This can lead to a lack of confidence, embarrassment, and psychological distress.
Children with misshapen ears often suffer from anxiety, behavioral problems, and decreased self-esteem leading to social isolation.
Who Is an Ideal Candidate for Ear Surgery?
Otoplasty can be used to correct ears that:
- ‘Stick out’ noticeably far from the sides of the head
- Are smaller or larger than usual
- Have been misshapen due to injury or developmental issues
Children ages 5 or older (as this is when the outer ear is near to full adult size) are good candidates for otoplasty. Adults are also eligible for cosmetic ear surgery and should ideally be nonsmokers and in good overall health with no underlying medical conditions.
There are also people who underwent otoplasty once before but weren’t satisfied with the results. They may then choose to have another procedure to achieve the results they want.
It’s very important that both the patient and the family have a positive outlook and maintain realistic expectations for the results of the surgery.
Otoplasty Procedure Overview
Before going in for surgery, you will have a consultation with your cosmetic surgeon. During the consultation, your surgeon will ask you about your medical history, any medications you’re taking, and past surgeries that you may have had.
Your surgeon will also examine your ears, evaluating their shape, size, and overall placement. Your surgeon will then discuss the details of the procedure with you, including the likely result and any potential risks.
During the consultation, you’ll have the chance to ask your surgeon any questions you have about the procedure. If there’s something you don’t understand or just feel you need more information, don’t be afraid to ask.
The procedure itself can take between 1-3 hours. General anesthesia is recommended for younger children undergoing the surgery. For adults, local anesthesia may be used.
During the procedure, the surgeon will make an incision behind the ear, in the groove between the ear and the head. They may then remove or reshape some of the cartilage. This is done using permanent stitches. Finally, the incision will be closed up.
Otoplasty is a safe procedure with a high success rate. Studies have found that otoplasty can increase one’s quality of life.
After the surgery is complete, the surgeon will apply a heavy dressing over both ears. This dressing will need to remain in place for a few days.
It is normal to feel some discomfort immediately after surgery, such as aching and throbbing. This can be controlled using oral pain medication. Once the dressing is removed, the patient will need to wear a headband (especially at night) in order to protect the ears.
Within several weeks after surgery, a person should be able to return to most normal activities. However, it’s important to first check with your surgeon as they will be able to advise you properly on what you can and cannot do after your surgery.
Ear surgery leaves a scar on the back of the ear, but this is not a cause for concern as it will fade with time.
When Will the Results be Noticeable?
The patient can expect minor swelling to occur after surgery. This should resolve completely within about four weeks.
Once the dressings are removed, the results should be immediately noticeable. As the swelling goes down, the appearance of the ears will continue to improve and will begin to look more refined.
What Will an Otoplasty Cost?
Ear surgery that is purely cosmetic is unlikely to be covered by your insurance. There are several costs involved when undergoing otoplasty. These include:
- Anesthesia (including the anesthesiologist if required)
- Facilities (the operating room and other surgical equipment)
- Surgeon’s fee
You will be able to discuss these fees directly with your surgeon during your consultation to get an idea of what you will need to pay for your otoplasty.
Schedule an Appointment Today to Discuss Your Otoplasty
Now you know a bit more about cosmetic ear surgery, including how it works, the expected results, and who’s an ideal candidate.
Dr. Jeffrey C. Popp is a fully certified and high-experienced cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon. He will be happy to answer any further questions you may have regarding ear surgery.
So, if you’re interested in learning more about otoplasty, call Dr. Popp at (402) 391-4558.