An otoplasty is the surgical reshaping of the ear intended to improve the contour and/or position of the ear. The 2 most common causes of a prominent or protruding ear are excess cartilage in the conchal bowl and a poorly formed anti-helical fold. Ear deformities are typically present at birth or they become apparent in early development. For many children, they can be a source of intense teasing, bullying and insecurity.
AT WHAT AGE IS IT SAFE TO HAVE AN OTOPLASTY?
By the time a child reaches 5 or 6 years of age, the ears are 90% of their adult size and an otoplasty can be safely performed. Another important consideration is that at this age, children with prominent ears will be more socially active and at risk of being teased or bullied. There is no upper limit for when an otoplasty can be performed, but many adult patients express that they wish they had performed the otoplasty procedure at a much younger age.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO RECOVER AFTER AN OTOPLASTY?
- Immediately after otoplasty surgery, there will be a compressive dressing placed over the ear(s) and a small rubber band drain. The drain comes out after 1 day, the compressive dressing stays on for 3 days.
- After the compressive dressing is removed, a tennis type headband is worn for 2 weeks continuously. The ears can remain bruised for up to 2 weeks.
- Skin sutures are removed at 1 week.
- The headband is worn at night before sleep for another 2 months.
- Exercise is permissible at 3 weeks.
CAN AN OTOPLASTY BE PERFORMED UNDER LOCAL ANESTHESIA?
Yes, an otoplasty can be safely and comfortably performed under local anesthesia.