Ear Correction Surgery – Otoplasty

Prominent Ear Correction (Otoplasty, Pinnaplasty)

Indications

Correction of prominent ears is essentially a cosmetic operation. Young children may be brought to a surgeon by parents wishing to avoid later teasing. It is probably better to wait until the child is aware of the difference and wants an operation to correct it. With this approach children are generally co-operative and happier with the outcome.

Most surgeons avoid operating on prominent ears before the age of 6 or 7 because of concerns about affecting subsequent growth of the ear cartilage.

Anesthetic

Local or general anesthesia. In children, general anesthesia is usually required.

 

 

Technique

Surgical techniques aim to reshape and/or reposition the ear cartilage to recreate missing folds and/or cause the ear to lie closer to the head. Surgery is performed via an incision, about 5cm long, on the back of the ear. Stitches to close this incision can be absorbable (dissolving) or need removing.

After surgery a well padded head bandage is applied to protect the reshaped ears; this is left on for 7 – 14 days.

Length of operation

One hour to one and a half hours

Time in hospital

Day-case or one-night stay

Postoperative Discomfort/Limitations

Significant pain following this operation is unusual. Some discomfort does occur, but this is helped by local anesthetics (even if carried out under general anesthesia) and simple pain killers, such as paracetamol. Children undergoing this kind of surgery seem to be prone to postoperative vomiting. This can be controlled with anti-sickness medications.

Itching and feeling hot while wearing the head-bandage are common complaints. The bandage should be kept dry and if it becomes dislodged, it should be replaced by someone with appropriate experience. After the bandage is removed a head band should be worn at night for a further month to prevent the ear from being pulled forward during sleep. Stitches are removed at 10 – 14 days. Contact sports should be avoided for 6-8 weeks.

Time off work

It is possible to return to work or school one to two days following surgery. Most individuals prefer to stay at home until the head bandage is removed.

Risks and Complications

General anesthesia is very safe. Complications for the surgery include bleeding; perhaps the commonest – may require a return to the operating room to stop; infection, potentially very serious, but usually responds to antibiotics; residual/recurrent deformity; asymmetry; unsatisfactory scarring (keloid or hypertrophic); small areas of skin on the front of the ears may ulcerate and take a long time to heal. The ears are often bruised when dressings are removed; numbness is common and improves with time. Cold sensitivity (pain in cold weather) is not uncommon.

Outcome

The vast majority of patients are satisfied with the outcome of surgery.[metaslider id=3082]