Protruding ears can be a source of embarrassment and teasing for both adults and children. Ears may also be misshapen due to a birth defect or injury. When the ears are not properly balanced with the rest of the face, it can impact every facial feature.
Otoplasty is a surgery used to change the appearance of the ears. Also referred to as ear enhancements this procedure may reposition, reshape or change the size of the ears to add better balance to the rest of the facial profile. The procedure may be safely performed on adults and children over the age of five.
Children seeking ear enhancement surgery should be at least five to ensure the ear is fully mature. Both children and adults should be in good physical health, without underlying medical conditions or recurrent ear infections. Ear enhancements can be used to address the following concerns:
- Ears that noticeably protrude from the sides of the head
- Unusually large ears that throw other facial features out of balance
- Abnormally shaped ears or misshapen ear lobes
- Ears that are different sizes or shapes
Otoplasty is typically performed alone, particularly when the procedure is performed on a child. Aesthetic alterations to the ear will not affect the patient’s ability to hear.
About the Procedure
Otoplasty is an outpatient procedure that may be performed under local anesthesia. In the case of children, general anesthesia may be recommended by our plastic surgeon—Dr. Geoffrey Leber—to avoid movement by the child during surgery. Specific surgical technique will vary, based on the results to be achieved. In most cases, incisions will be placed behind the ear or inside the inner crease of the ear to minimize visible scarring after the procedure.
Ear enhancement surgery generally takes about one hour to complete, depending on the type of correction involved. More complex procedures may take longer. After surgery, the patient is kept in recovery for observation for a period of time. Most patients return home the same day as their surgery.
Recovery and Results
Patients are sent home with dressings on the ears and instructions on how to care for the dressings. Once the dressings come off, a loose headband is worn at night to protect the ears and hold them in shape while the patient is sleeping. Oral pain medication is effective in managing any discomfort during the first few days after the procedure.
Results of otoplasty are generally seen right away. The procedure is considered permanent and should last throughout the patient’s lifetime.
Dr. Leber and his staff are here to help you achieve your aesthetic goals in a safe and caring environment. If you’re interested in scheduling a procedure, reach us by phone (480) 945-5522 or email us.