All You Need to Know About Otoplasty
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Published by TOP4 Team
Unless you are well versed in the different types of plastic surgery procedures available, you likely are not familiar with otoplasty. This procedure is performed on patients who feel that their ears are either too large or stick out. It can sometimes also be referred to as ear pinning for patients that have ears that stick out unnaturally. This condition can be especially devastating for children who can become victims of bullying. Otoplasty can be performed once the ears have reached close to their full size, which is usually between the ages of 5-6.
How is the Procedure Performed?
An otoplasty procedure typically begins with a small incision behind the ear. This incision is often placed in the fold of the ear so that it is not noticeable by the naked eye. The surgeon will then use this incision to move or reshape the ear by removing cartilage if necessary. Finally, the surgeon will pin the ear back with sutures to achieve a more desirable look.
Reconstructive Otoplasty can also be performed where ears are deformed from conditions such as trauma, cauliflower ear, or even birth defects. To repair these deformities, surgeons will often remove any deformed cartilage and even use skin grafts from other areas of the body to restore the natural shape of the ear.
Preparing for the Procedure
Otoplasty is normally performed as an outpatient procedure under general anaesthesia. It is important to avoid taking any medications that can cause the blood to thin such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin. If you do not stop taking these medicines prior to surgery, you could increase the risk of excessive bleeding during and after your procedure. Your surgeon will likely tell you exactly when you need to stop using these medications. If you are undergoing anaesthesia you will need to stop eating solid foods or liquids at midnight the night before your procedure. Your surgeon will go through all of these details well in advance of your procedure.
Risks Associated With Otoplasty
As is the case with most any type of surgery, otoplasty does have some risks. Overall this procedure is typically very safe for patients. However, a few of the risks include:
- Asymmetry – where both ears do not match
- Scarring – occasionally excessive scarring or scar tissue can occur
- Overcorrection – the ears appear unnatural as if they are being pulled back
- Under correction – the ears still stick out after the procedure
- Excessive bleeding
There are also risks with general anaesthesia, which should be discussed with an anesthesiologist prior to your procedure.
What to Expect During Recovery
Your surgeon should give you specific instructions to follow during your recovery phase, but generally, include something similar to the brief description below.
After your procedure is complete you will likely have bandages over your ears and possibly drains from any incisions. Your surgeon will instruct you as to how and if you should empty your drains. The bandages should stay dry which means that you should not wet your hair or shower until they have been removed. After a few days, your doctor will likely remove your bandages and, depending on how you are healing, may replace them with a soft headband.
Your doctor may prescribe pain medication after surgery. Also, if you typically sleep on your side, you may have trouble sleeping because it is not recommended that you lay on your incisions. Should you have any questions during the recovery period, do not hesitate to contact your doctor.