A cosmetic process that involves changes in the size, shape and position of ears is known as otoplasty. Doctors recommend otoplasty surgery because of injuries or birth defects in the ears. People prefer ear cosmetic surgeries when they are concerned about the natural shape of their ears, and these can be performed at any age.
Health professionals perform this surgery after the age of five years and, in specific cases, even at three years of age. Splinting is preferred when there are problems related to the shape of the ears in infants who are born with abnormally prominent ears.
Why is it done?
You can consider the procedure of otoplasty if:
- You are not satisfied with the previous otoplasty surgery.
- The shape of your ears is large as compared to the shape of your head.
- Your ears stick out far from the region of your head.
Doctors perform otoplasty surgery on both ears to maintain symmetry. It is performed only when your ears have reached their full size. Your ability to hear and the location of your ears will not get affected after the surgical process.
How to prepare?
A consultation for otoplasty:
During your first meet with the plastic surgeon or the health professional, your doctor can ask questions about:
Your medical history:
Your doctor will review your medical background and may ask related questions. If you are taking medications or any other symptom relievers, then inform the doctor. In case you have suffered from ear infections before, inform them.
Perform a physical exam:
Your doctor will check the ear physically to decide the treatment plan. The team will plan your treatment according to the symmetry, shape, size and placement of your ears. Your doctor or surgeon will maintain a record for best results.
Doctors can ask you about your expectations after the surgery:
You should explain to your doctor what you are hoping for in terms of appearance and results after otoplasty surgery. Transparent communication is mandatory between you and your doctor for the best experience.
If your doctor considers you as an ideal candidate for otoplasty surgery, then you should prepare before the process:
- Food and medications:
To avoid the incidences of over bleeding, the doctor would ask you to avoid medications such as aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and any herbal supplements
- Other precautions:
Kindly refrain from alcohol and smoking before the surgery. Smoking can decrease blood flow in the body and can interfere with the healing process. Additionally, health professionals can ask you to avoid smoking and alcohol even during the recovery process.
Take adequate rest and proper health care initiatives.
What you can expect
Before the procedure:
Surgeons can perform ear cosmetic surgery in the hospital or as an outpatient facility according to the situation. Local anaesthesia and sedation medications will be used only in the area of concern. Sometimes, general anaesthesia will be rendered to make you unconscious for the procedure.
During the procedure:
The needs of the patient decide the course of treatment and surgery. Your surgeon will mark the location for the surgery and will make incisions considering that. Incisions made during the procedure may cause scars.
The most preferred locations for making incisions are:
- Inner creases of your ear
- On the back of your ear
Your doctor or health professional will remove excess cartilage and skin after making incisions. Then they will fold the cartilage and secure it with stitches. They can also use stitches to close the incisions. Otoplasty surgery lasts at least two hours.
After the procedure:
Your surgeon will cover your ears with bandages after the process for support and protection. Some discomfort like itching can occur during the recovery process. You can consume medicines as advised by your physician.
Your doctor will remove the bandages within a few days. Your ears may become swollen and red. Wear a headband at night so that it can cover your ears. Health professionals can advise continued use of the headband for at least two to six weeks.
You should communicate with your doctor about the removal of the stitches. You can also inquire about things such as when you can resume your daily activities like bathing.
When your doctor removes the bandages, you will notice a change in the appearance of your ears. The changes made by the surgeons during the surgery are permanent.
If you are not satisfied with the results of your surgery, you can talk about other options with your doctor.