Many people seek ear reshaping surgery, or otoplasty, if they find the shape or size of their ears psychologically painful, unusual, or unsightly. The surgery offers them the opportunity to realize a reduction in the shape size of their ears, or perhaps bring the ears closer to the head by pinning and moving them closer to the head.
It can also be used to correct other ear abnormalities such as lop ear, a condition where the top of the ear folds down and bends forward; cupped ear the condition of a very small ear; or shell ear, the absence of the curve in the outer rim as well as the ear’s natural folds and creases.
Ear reshaping can be performed as soon as the ears have reached close to their adult size and their full shape, which is usually around the age of five or six. Although most patients undergo this corrective surgery as adults, a child who is the victim of excessive teasing because of his ear shape or size may be a good candidate.
At your initial consultation with Dr. Heffelfinger or, Dr. Krein, or Dr. Pribitkin in Philadelphia, your doctor will conduct an in-depth interview so he has a complete understanding of your medical history. He will want to discuss earlier surgeries, your current medical conditions and medications you are taking as well as any dietary or other allergies you may have.
He will explain the surgery in detail and discuss how it may be used to achieve the look you seek. In addition to discussing this surgery, your doctor may point out other options that might benefit you. He will show you before and after pictures of former patients so you have a better understanding of the results you may expect.
The doctors at Jefferson Facial Plastics in Philadelphia, with their excellent training and extensive experience with hundreds of these operations, will answer all your questions.
At the end of your consultation, you will fully understand the surgical procedure, the surgical facility, anesthesia options, and the cosmetic benefits you might expect. He will also inform you of the recovery process, and timeframe, and costs.
In adults, the surgery will typically be conducted in your doctor’s offices and lasts between one to three hours. Children typically have surgery under anesthesia in our outpatient surgical facility.
Your particular surgery goals will dictate the techniques your doctor uses. A typical procedure involves your doctor making small, inconspicuous incisions behind your ears. The cartilage of the ear is then cut, weakened, reduced, or molded to achieve the optimal aesthetic result. Incisions are then closed meticulously to create the best scar possible. In children, dissolvable sutures are typically used to eliminate the need for later suture removal.
These incisions will enable him to perform the manipulation or removal of cartilage to achieve the look you seek. He may use dissolvable sutures, eliminating the need to remove sutures later.
You will likely need to wear a head-wrap headband at all times for one to three days and perhaps, depending on your procedure and doctor’s recommendations, a headband for up to two weeks after the surgery, which is important in keeping your ears in their new position. After the first two weeks, the headband should be worn at night for another 4 weeks.
If possible, you should expect to take one week for your recovery. Avoid activities that would cause strain or pressure on the area around your surgery.
As soon as the head-wrap, headband, or bandaging is removed, you will immediately see and begin to enjoy the results of the surgery.