Cosmetic procedures targeting the ears are some of the most popular choices for patients looking to address their appearance. Protruding ears can have a significant impact on a person’s self-esteem, especially if they have faced bullying about their appearance.
If noticed during the first few weeks of life, many types of misshapen ears can be formed into a correct position using a painless, non-surgical procedure performed in-office. If not corrected while an infant, a surgical otoplasty, or ear pinning, is most commonly performed on children and adults who have faced teasing or other self-image issues as a result of protruding ears. It is usually desirable for children to undergo an otoplasty before starting kindergarten or the first grade, but the procedure can be carried out on patients of any age as long as normal ear growth has occurred.
If you or your child, are looking to significantly change the shape or size of the ears, an otoplasty is an effective cosmetic technique that can be used to restore a natural look to the ears. If you are interested in modifying the appearance of your ears, speak with the office of Dr. Jordan Wallin to learn more about the process of an otoplasty, or ear recontouring surgery.
There are a few reasons why your ears might seem to stick out too far. Some people have an increased concho-scaphal angle, which is how the ear aligns with the side of your head. A small angle means the ears will seem like they are very close to the head.
Other people might have a large conchal bowl, which is the part of the ear that leads to the opening. If the bowl is too large, the ears will seem to reach out far to the side of the head.
People who have weak or small folds on the outer edge of the ear will seem like they have ears that stick out too far.
Young infants that are found to have misshapen ears can often achieve excellent results with devices to hold their ears in a natural position. While most success is seen in the first two months of life due to maternal estrogen circulating in infants, some research shows improvement after that time course. If your infant has any deformity to their ears, call our office for a prompt consultation.
Most otoplasties are carried out on children who are between the ages of five and fourteen, but the procedure is often recommended for kids before they enter school. This helps minimize any teasing or negative reactions from other kids towards ears that appear to stick out far.
Parents should remain very sensitive to the needs and desires of their child and carefully weigh their feelings about their ears. Kids who are more self-conscious about their ears and who are interested in ways to fix them are most likely going to be more willing to undergo a surgical procedure to correct their appearance.
Dr. Wallin will be able to give advice about the right age to carry out an otoplasty and will be happy to explain how the procedure works to you or your child
An otoplasty is usually carried out after IV sedation or general anesthesia is administered to a patient. One of the most common techniques involves a small incision behind the ear so Dr. Wallin can manipulate the ear cartilage. The cartilage is then sculpted and maneuvered back towards the head to bring the ear closer to the skin. The new shape is maintained with the help of stitches that are made under the skin.
Another technique involves the removal of a small portion of skin, followed by the use of stitches to fold the cartilage back in a manner that can reshape the ear without having to remove anything.
Dr. Wallin might rely on elements of both techniques to carry out an otoplasty, depending on the specific needs and desires of the patient. In general, both ears will be modified during a surgical procedure to ensure the two ears have a similar and symmetrical appearance.
All incisions are sealed with sutures and then bandaged very carefully to ensure the healing process is able to commence without any issues. Overall, the surgical procedure usually takes one hour.
Children and adults are able to get up and walk around a few hours after an otoplasty has concluded. Dr. Wallin will apply soft dressings to the ears that should stay on during the first week after surgery. These bandages will help the ear mold to its new position.
Most people will have some discomfort around their ears and will have to sleep on their back or stomach. After a few days, Dr. Wallin will give patients a headband to wear in order to keep the ears in a stable position for up to two weeks after surgery. Oral pain medications are also prescribed to help reduce the effects of aching or throbbing.
In general, ear surgery will leave a small and faint scar behind the ear that is very challenging to notice. These scars usually heal without any issue. Dr. Wallin works with all patients after an otoplasty to make sure the recovery process is going well and is always available to answer any questions or address patient concerns.
Most adults are cleared to return to work in about five days, while most children can return to school within a week as long as they are careful about physical activity. All otoplasty patients should stay away from any activity that could lead to a blow to the ear for about one month after a surgical procedure.
Complications of a procedure are minor. Occasionally, some might develop a small blood clot on the ear or suffer from a cartilage infection. Infections are able to be effectively treated by antibiotics, while a clot is able to be drained if it does not dissolve naturally. It is normal and very common for patients to notice small asymmetries to their ears after surgery.
Before an otoplasty, Dr. Wallin will review your medical history and take a look at any medication you are currently taking. You will be asked to stop or adjust medicines that could affect your procedure, like aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications, and some herbal supplements.
Patients should stop smoking and the use of any tobacco products like gum or Nicoderm for four weeks before and after an otoplasty. If you are trying to get your child prepared for ear surgery, Dr. Wallin will be able to advise on how to explain the procedure and help them understand what the end results will look like.
Do you feel like your ears are too large, in the wrong position, or have an awkward shape or size? If so, an otoplasty can help you (or your child) feel better about your self-image and reduce teasing. Schedule a consultation with the office of Dr. Jordan Wallin to learn more about the components of an otoplasty, understand how the procedure can change your ears, and to get an effective treatment plan from Dr. Wallin that will meet your cosmetic goals and give you a look you can take pride in.