Otoplasty is the surgical procedure used to correct, shape, change the overall size, proportions, or position of the ear in any vector. Otoplasty addresses congenital defects (found at birth), cosmetically desired changes, and correction of issues caused by prior trauma or previous ear procedures.
When Is Otoplasty Needed?
Otoplasty can be done very early in infancy for severe congenital anomalies or as early as 5 or average of 8-9 years old for cosmetic ‘pinning’ of the protruding ear. Older patients may desire alterations, shortening, or narrowing of a stretched lobule. Lobule reconstructions may be needed for ripped lobules secondary to earrings enlarging/ripping piercings or for folks that regret placement and use of gauges.
How Is An Otoplasty Performed?
In most otoplasties, the incision is made behind the ear which allows direct access to portruding, over developed conchal bowl cartilage. Correcting the over-developed or rotated protruding ear may involve scoring removal or reshaping cartilage to create or increase the antihelical fold. When we speak of “pinning” ears, we essentially reduce the enlarged conchal cartilage (the largest and deepest concavity of the external ear) to allow the ear to sit more tightly to the head.
For more intricate development of missing ear features (superior to inferior crus, helix, ante- helix), incisions on the front of the ear might be indicated but we will try hide them within normally occurring folds.
Recovery After Ear Surgery
With a long history of operating on everybody from babies to mature adults, Drs. Michelle and Albert Carlotti are excellent at sitting down with the child, parent, or adult patient and explaining the procedure, postoperative protocol that might involve having the head wrapped for a number of days and sleeping with headband compression/protection for up to weeks postoperatively. Our patients consistently describe otoplasty/ear pinning/ear shaping as an easy, immediate gratification surgery that they easily tolerated and recovered from. Otoplasty results are life-long with only a very small percentage of still growing children that might need a small revision if aberrant growth occurs.
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