Ears are usually not the most noticed feature of the face but for people with prominent ears, they can find this upsetting, especially for children or people who wear their hair short. Ear plastic surgery, also known as Otoplasty is designed to correct protruding ears. It can also be used to make ears more symmetrical or to correct ears that droop to low.
Ear surgery involves a surgeon pinning the patient’s ears back closer to the head, thus making them less prominent.
There are many benefits associated with undergoing surgical otoplasty. These include:
Low risk – the procedure is considered very safe with minimal risks involved (see important considerations below)
Minimal scarring once healed
Enhanced confidence and self esteem
Natural looking results
Ear surgery – important considerations
There are several key considerations for those exploring the option of ear surgery (otoplasty).
1) Timing (for young patients) – a person’s ears reach full development by the age of 4-5 therefore ear pinning surgery should not be performed until AFTER this age.
2) Recovery time – overall recovery from otoplasty surgery is generally quick. There may be some discomfort in the first 1-2 days but this generally settles quickly.
3) There will be some swelling and bruising post-surgery. Usually the bruising and discolouration is gone within 3 weeks. Swelling will diminish over the course of the first 6 weeks, however some minor swelling may continue for up to 2-3 months.
4) It is important to note that a patient can only sleep semi-reclined on their back during the initially recovery period (generally for the first 2-3 week/s).
5) Complications are generally minimal for otoplasty however as with any surgery risks can include bleeding, slow healing time, numbness and thickened scarring behind the ear.
6) One of the most problematic complications with ear surgery is if the ear is pulled on or knocked before adequate healing has occurred. If this happens the shape can be altered. Absolute care should be taken to avoid this and if this does occur you should reach out to your surgeon straight away to receive further advice.
Parents with a child who opts to undergo otoplasty will often find the first several weeks challenging, assisting the child to follow all instructions provided to ensure an optimal recovery. This includes keeping their head bandaged, ensuring they don’t scratch the ear area if itchy, minimising physical activity so as to not knock the ears etc. Knowing this in advance allows for pre-planning and makes it all very manageable.
If you are considering ear plastic surgery we recommend booking a consultation with a specialist plastic surgeon in Melbourne who will be able to discuss the intended procedure, perform a full suitability assessment, discuss expected outcomes and answer any questions you may have, including when may be the best time to have the procedure.