Probably no other physical characteristic cries out for facial plastic surgery more than protruding ears. Children, long the victims of cruel nicknames like “Dumbo” or “Mickey Mouse,” are the most likely candidates for otoplasty, but this surgery can be performed at any age after the ears have reached full size, usually around five to six years of age. Even if the ears are only mildly distorted, the condition can lead to self-consciousness and poor adaptation to school. When it comes to otoplasty, conventional wisdom is the earlier the better.
Adults may also benefit from this procedure, which improves self-esteem with relative ease. Often, adults choose this surgery in conjunction with other facial plastic surgical procedures. Not only is it possible to “pin back” ears, but ears can also be reshaped, reduced in size, or made more symmetrical.
If you are wondering how otoplasty can improve the way you look, you need to know how otoplasty is performed and what you can expect from this procedure. This pamphlet can address many of your concerns.
Is Otoplasty For You?
General good health and realistic expectations are prerequisites. It is also important to understand the surgery. Otoplasty will not alter hearing ability. What is important for successful otoplasty is that the ears be in proportion to the size and shape of the face and head.
When considering otoplasty, parents must be confident that they have their child’s best interests at heart. A positive attitude toward the surgery is an important factor in all facial plastic surgery, but it is especially critical when the patient is a child or adolescent. Adult candidates for otoplasty should understand that the firmer cartilage of fully developed ears does not provide the same molding capacity as in children. A consultation with Dr. Sule can help parents decide what is best for their child, not only aesthetically, but also psychologically and physically. Timing is always an important consideration. Having the procedure at a young age is highly desirable in two respects: the cartilage is extremely pliable, thereby permitting greater ease of shaping; and secondly, the child will experience psychological benefits from the cosmetic improvement.
Understanding The Surgery
Surgery begins with an incision just behind the ear, in the natural fold where the ear is joined to the head. The surgeon will then remove the necessary amounts of cartilage and skin required to achieve the right effect. In some cases, Dr. Sule will trim the cartilage, shaping it into a more desirable form and then pin the cartilage back with permanent sutures to secure the cartilage.
In other instances, Dr. Sule will not remove any cartilage at all, using stitches to hold the cartilage permanently in place. After sculpting the cartilage to the desired shape, the surgeon will apply sutures to anchor the ear until healing occurs to hold the ear in the desired position.
What To Expect After The Surgery
Soft dressings applied to the ears will remain for a few days. Most patients experience some mild discomfort. Headbands are sometimes recommended to hold the ears in the desired position for two weeks after the surgery.
The risks are minimal. There will be a thin white scar behind the ear after healing. Because this scar is in a natural crease behind the ear, the problem of visibility is inconsequential. That is why patients travel from over the country to have Dr. Sule perform their surgery.
Your Next Step
If you have any questions about Otoplasty surgery, please call our office at (972) 960-2950 to arrange an appointment with Dr. Sule.