Few things can generate more teasing and insecurity in a child than having ears that project out away from the head. But it doesn’t have to be a lifelong problem thanks to otoplasty, commonly known as ear surgery.
Otoplasty is usually performed on children between the ages of five and 14. The ears are fully developed by age six, so there is no concern that the ears will change and create additional problems later on.
In adults, otoplasty is more often needed after injury to the ears, although it also can be done to correct misshapen ears or for purely cosmetic reasons.
Should You Have Ear Surgery?
Patients who benefit from elective ear surgery generally fall into three categories:
- Protruding ears (majority of the cosmetic surgery performed on ears)
- Large ears
- Abnormally shaped ears
Ear surgery is recommended for children as they near complete ear development at age five or six. Correcting any of the above conditions in a child before they enter school can head off potential teasing and self-image issues. Adults may also have their ears reshaped. As long as you are in good health, there is no upper age limit for this surgery.
Your Otoplasty Procedure
Before your ear surgery, you will meet with Dr. Saltz to discuss your aesthetic goals and how the surgery will proceed. As with any cosmetic surgery, you should research the procedure before your consultation.
Otoplatsy corrects protruding ears by creating or increasing the antihelical fold inside the rim of the ear and reducing enlarged conchal cartilage. Dr. Saltz makes the incisions on the back of the ear using inner sutures to hold the ear cartilage in place. Scarring is well hidden behind the ear.
After your surgery, bandages will cover the incisions. They will be removed in two to three days, replaced by lighter dressings. There will be some bruising and swelling around the ears over the first 24 hours.
Adults can usually return to work in three or four days, but children usually need a little more time before returning to school. Full recovery takes around three months.