- Protruding ears,
- “Lop ear” where the top folds down and forward,
- “Cupped ear” which is an unusually small ear, or
- “Shell ear” where the curve of the outer rim or the natural folds and creases are missing.
Ear surgery is also appropriate for split, large or stretched ear lobes, and ears may be built for those disfigured by birth defects or injury. The bulk of ear surgery is done on children ages four to fourteen since the ears are usually fully developed by age 4.
What to Expect
In the initial consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon, the patient’s condition will be evaluated and the most effective technique for correction will be determined. This surgery may be performed under local or general anesthesia depending on the extent of the procedure and age of the patient. Otoplasty usually takes two or more hours and is done as an outpatient in an accredited facility.
The more common technique involves small incisions in the back of the ear to expose cartilage. The cartilage is then sculpted, and non-removable stitches help maintain the new shape. Occasionally cartilage and skin may be removed. In most cases, a faint scar that fades with time is left on the back of the ear.
Complications are infrequent and usually minor when ear surgery is performed by a qualified, experienced surgeon. Nevertheless, as with any operation, there are risks associated with surgery and specific complications associated with his procedure. These will be outlined in an informed consent sheet provided during your consultation. We strongly encourage each patient to carefully review these risks and discuss them with your surgeon prior to proceeding with surgery.
Usually the patient is up and around within a few hours of surgery with the head wrapped in a bandage to promote healing. These bandages will be replaced with lighter bandages and stitches will be removed or will dissolve within a week. Return to school and work is five to seven days with restricted physical activity.
To learn more about ear surgery:
- Visit the ASPS Resource Center