Do you feel your ears have a different shape than others, perhaps too different? Many assume that there is nothing they can do about their ear shape, and they just learn to live with unusual ear shape, size, or excessive protrusion. Fortunately, there is still something you can do about it, and that is through otoplasty.
What Is Otoplasty?
Otoplasty, sometimes known as ear correction surgery, is a cosmetic ear surgery that aims to shape the patient’s ear into the ideal shape, either due to aesthetics or ear irregularities. The operation involves the visible portion of the outer ear, which is called the auricle.
The auricle is composed of several folds of cartilage that are covered with skin. Cartilage is also the same structure that forms the nose. Ear cartilage develops before birth and continues to shape for several more years after birth.
That’s why most otoplasty surgeries are common between 4 and 14. During these ages, the ear cartilage is still soft and easy to contour by the surgeon. However, otoplasty is still a viable option for adults.
Types Of Otoplasty
So if your auricle cartilage has deformed or didn’t develop properly, you can consider otoplasty to contour the ears to the appropriate size, position, and shape. There are several types of otoplasty you can consider for your ears:
- Ear Reduction: This augmentation is recommended when your macrotia is unusually big. You may want to consider this option if your ears are larger than average.
- Ear Pinning: Some individuals have ears sticking out prominently on the sides of their heads. If you have this concern, ear pinning can help by drawing your ears closer to the head.
- Ear Augmentation: Another common problem with ears is when they aren’t appropriately developed or didn’t completely develop. In these instances, ear augmentation is considered, shaping the ears until the ideal shape is attained.
In some cases, plastic surgeons can build new ears for people who lost their ears through injury or were born without them.
Common Ear Problems That Can Be Helped With Otoplasty
Other ear problems that otoplasty can help with include the following:
- Lop-Ear: Lop ears describe an ear deformity where the ear’s top rim is either wrinkled, folded over, or too tight. This condition can either be mild or severe. In its mild form, only the rim of the upper ear is folded, but in its severe form, the cartilage helix and scapha are constricted, forming an even more, tighter roll.
- Shell Ear: This is when there is the absence of the superior antithetical crus, and due to that, the inferior antithetical crus runs more horizontally, forming pointy ears.
- Cup Ear: Cup ear is a more severe case of the lop ear. Since the cartilage lacks tissues to hold itself upright, the outer ear auricle collapses, covering the ear canals.
If you are thinking of using otoplasty for aesthetic purposes to boost your confidence and not for fixing deformities, consult with a counselor or psychologist first. Talking with them might help you overcome your aesthetic concerns. Not to say that using otoplasty to enhance your ears is wrong, but just know that otoplasty is a surgical procedure. There will be a lot of aftercare needed for it.
Who’s A Good Candidate?
If you have any ear irregularities, you are a good candidate for the surgical procedure. Likewise, some people may not be satisfied with the initial results of their otoplasty procedure; they are also excellent candidates to try out the surgery again.
Ideally, the best candidates are the ages between 4 and 14, when the cartilage is still developing, making them easy to contour. However, adults are still good candidates for otoplasty if they want to.
As long as you are healthy, you are a candidate for the procedure, but smokers are generally prohibited from taking the approach. Smoking causes decreased blood flow, slowing the healing process and causing complications.
What’s The Procedure Like?
Expect the procedure to be quite a lengthy process. There will be consultation, the procedure, and then the aftermath.
Find the best surgeon by looking at their reviews and online portfolios. Fortunately for you, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons has a tool that you can use to find reputable surgeons around your area. When you find a surgeon, ask about their board certifications and their experiences from their previous clients, it should tell you whether they are good or not.
Before proceeding with the procedure, you’ll need to have an extensive consultation with your plastic surgeon. During this time, they will check your medical records, make examinations, discussions about the procedure and what you can expect from it, and then you can ask questions.
If you are considering otoplasty for aesthetics, you need a consultation all the more. You and the surgeon have to be on the same page on what you want out of the surgery. Be sure to communicate to them properly so that you won’t have any problems that may warrant another surgery later on.
Otoplasty will be an outpatient procedure, and the surgery can take between 1 to 3 hours, depending on how much work is needed on your ears.
Anesthesia and sedation will be administered both for adults and children. In most cases, general anesthesia is applied, and it is especially recommended for younger children undergoing otoplasty.
Specifics on how the otoplasty works are complex, and it can vary depending on the type of otoplasty used. But generally, here is what you can expect from the procedure.
- Surgeons will make an incision either on the bac or the inside folds of your ears.
- They will then control the ear tissues, including removing cartilage, contouring the cartilage with stitches, or grafting.
- Finally, they will then close the wounds with stitches.
Expect your ears to be sore and itchy. You may also experience swelling, numbness, redness, and bruising. The dressing of the stitches will stay in place for a week, and after that, you will wear an elastic headband for the next 4 to 6 weeks. Your doctor will let you know when you can return to your daily routine.
How Long Does It Last?
Once you’ve had the surgery, the results are permanent. The effects of the surgery are permanent, and you can be confident that it will stay that way.
If you are trying to find the best surgeon for your otoplasty, consider and contact our clinic, Cache Valley Facial Plastics. We offer surgical procedures services that address the different needs of our clients.