Otoplasty (ear surgery): what you need to know
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What is otoplasty or ear surgery?
Do you have prominent ears? Oversized ears? Or misshapen ears?
Do you have a protruding ear or do both of your ears stick out? Are your ears too large in proportion to your head? Do you feel they are misshapen due to an injury or because of a birth defect? In all these cases, you may consider an otoplasty procedure. The large majority of ear surgeries are done in children, but it can also be done in both teens and adults.
A child’s ear cartilage is still soft and easy to mould. Typically after the age of five is a good time, as by then the ears have grown to full size. This is why it is often recommended to have otoplasty surgery at a younger age (between the ages of five and ten).
When considering otoplasty it is important that the child is involved in the discussion and understands the nature of the procedure. Whilst otoplasty surgery is not the solution to bullying, normalising the appearance of the ears in young children can help when there is teasing at school.
Why have otoplasty surgery?
When your ears are too prominent, causing psychological distress
When your ears stick out or protrude
When your ears are misshapen or asymmetric
"About five per cent of the population has protruding ears. It is very common to seek surgical treatment before the age of 18. As long as the ears have reached their full size, it can be done. During your consultation, we will discuss the best treatment options for you or your child."
Types of otoplasties
Corrective otoplasty (ear pinning): Ear pinning involves making a small cut behind the ear to expose the cartilage. We then soften the cartilages by making small incisions and put stitches at the back of the ear to reshape or position the ear closer to the head. This type of surgery can be done under local or general anaesthetic.
Reduction otoplasty for too large ears: Macrotia is a congenital ear deformity and can be simply defined as an ear that is excessively large in size. Ear reduction otoplasty involves removing excess skin and cartilage.
Augmentation otoplasty (ear enlargement): If your ears are small (microtia) or hidden (anotia), it is often caused by underdeveloped cartilage. Ear augmentation surgery involves reshaping the cartilage by repositioning or pulling them and placing splints as support. We might also perform cartilage grafting to provide volume.
"So the incisions associated with otoplasty surgery are well hidden behind the ears. In most cases, when the healing has gone well, the scars are not noticeable even with a short haircut or when your hair is tied up. Otoplasty typically takes about one to two hours."
After your surgery
Otoplasty is a day procedure. This means you can go home after you have fully recovered from the anaesthetic, provided you have made arrangements, so a friend or family member can drive you home.
After your surgery, I would recommend that you sleep with at least two pillows to keep the head elevated. You will have a bandage around the head and over the ears that should be kept clean and dry. After a week your bandage will be removed however your ears might be swollen and red. So we recommend wearing a loose headband to cover them at night.
"Patient satisfaction following otoplasty surgery is extremely high. It is a pleasure to see young children so happy with the appearance of their ears following their surgery and having an easier time at school. Similarly, adults feel less self-conscious of their ears following otoplasty and have better self-esteem."
Why Dr Jeremy Rawlins as your preferred Perth otoplasty surgeon?
"My general recommendation for otoplasty in children is that the request for the surgery comes from your child. I believe that they need to be old enough to understand the surgery. Often I see younger patients who cannot look at themselves in the mirror. Sometimes they have been bullied or laughed at at school. These are very sensible reasons to have ear reshaping surgery."
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St John Of God Wexford Clinic
Level 1, Suite 26
3 Barry Marshall Road
MURDOCH WA 6150
St John of God Mount Lawley hospital
Suite 2, Level 1 Medical Centre
MT LAWLEY WA 6050
Mon-Fri from 9am-5pm
Closed for public holidays