Otoplasty is a surgical procedure done to those with ear deformities and to reduce the appearance of ears that are larger than the average. Surgery like cartilage removal and reshaping through an incision on the back of the ear can be carried out in order to establish normal ear shape.
The need for Otoplasty is dependent on the requirements of the patient. Common ear deformities that can be fixed by this procedure consist of the following:
Cup Ear – Parts of the external ear develop unevenly which causes it to stick out hence having a cup-shaped ear.
Lop Ear or Bat Ear – The inner part of the ear known as the concha grows perpendicular or at a right angle instead of parallel to it.
Cauliflower Ear – This is caused by injury and inflammation.
Those who are having stretched ear lobes and the ones with large creases and wrinkles ear lobes are also candidates for this procedure. Artificial ears for those who are having none either congenitally or through an injury or trauma can also be created by expert surgeons. Those who are having these deformities can really benefit from Otoplasty.
Undergoing this surgery usually results to better and natural-looking ears. People who have undergone with this procedure were extremely pleased with the results. However, it is important to remember that what is achieved here is improvement and not perfection. It very is important that those who would like to undergo with the procedure should discuss with their surgeon first about the procedure and their expectations before undergoing the surgery.
Candidates for Otoplasty
Children between age 4 to 14 and adults who are in good health and have no medical restrictions to surgery are good candidates for this procedure. It is also important that patients are aware of the limitations and possibilities of the surgery, as well as to be realistic in their expectations before undergoing surgery. A reasonable expectation is to have a more balanced and attractive appearance that will improve one’s self confidence and self-esteem.
Specific instructions are given to the patient before the surgery for preparations. It is advice to the parents who are having a child that will undergo the procedure that they must be watchful to their child’s feelings in undergoing the surgery. Those children who feel awkward about the current form of their ears are the ones who are usually more accommodating and are most willing to have a surgery and end up pleased with the result.
Generally, it takes about three to four hours for the procedure to finish depending on how intricate it is. Varying amount of anesthesia is used among patients. A general anesthesia is mostly used among children below 12 years old. Adults on the other hand, receive only a local anesthesia most of the time. The technique used by the surgeon will depend on the condition or problem of the patient.
Some Possible Risks
Just like other operations and surgeries, there are also some complications that are associated with Otoplasty. These complications are usually minor, uncommon and rare when surgery is done by an experienced and competent surgeon.
Common side effects of Otoplasty procedure are temporary throbbing, some aching and swelling, and erythema (redness) and minor numbness. In some rare cases, patients who have undergone this procedure can also develop a blood clot in the ear but this kind of complication could be drawn out or can dissolve spontaneously.
Infection in the cartilage may also occur in patients after undergoing the procedure which can result in scar tissue formation. Use of antibiotics is the most common way of treating this.
During the Recovery
On the first night after the procedure, patients are advised to sleep with their heads elevated. The stitches can be removed about two weeks after the surgery. Some stitches are also dissolved in about one week. In about one month duration after the surgery, it is very important that the patient should refrain from any activity that can result to the bending of the ear.
Usually, adults can resume work 5 days after the surgery. Children, on the other hand, may go back to school after a week or so but caution should be done during their playground activities. It is also advice that someone should watch over the child, say his teacher, for some few weeks to ensure a fast recovery.