What is Otoplasty?
Ear pinning surgery, also known as Otoplasty, can improve the shape, position or proportion of the ear. Otoplasty can correct a defect in the ear structure that is present at birth that becomes apparent with development or it can treat misshapen ears caused by injury. Ear surgery creates a natural shape, while bringing balance and proportion to the ears and face. Correction of even minor deformities can have profound benefits to appearance and self esteem. If protruding or disfigured ears bother you or your child, you may consider this procedure. Specifically ear surgery can treat: Overly large ears — a rare condition called macrotia, protruding ears occurring on one or both sides in varying degrees — not associated with hearing loss, and adult dissatisfaction with previous ear surgery.
Understanding the Surgery
Ear pinning surgery is typically performed as an outpatient procedure. For children, a general anesthetic is often used while adult patients may be given a local anesthetic with sedation. Surgery begins with an incision just behind the ear, in the natural fold where the ear is joined to the head. Necessary amounts of cartilage and skin will be removed to achieve the right effect. In some cases, the cartilage is trimmed, shaping it into a more desirable form. The cartilage is then pinned back with permanent sutures to secure it. In some instances, no cartilage will be removed. The cartilage will be sculpted to the desired shape, then sutures are applied to anchor the ear until healing occurs to hold the ear in the desired position. Dr. Heinrich will examine the structure of your ears and determine the best method to achieve your desired result.
A change in shape will not affect hearing. The ears’ folds and convolutions do serve to concentrate and localize sound waves, however routine surgery to pin back or reshape ears will not produce a noticeable change in hearing.
What to expect after the surgery
Soft dressings applied to the ears will remain for a few days. Most patients experience some mild discomfort. You will need to rest for a day or so and will need to keep your head elevated. If you are accustomed to sleeping on your side, your sleep patterns may be disrupted for a week or so because you cannot put any pressure on the ear areas. Headbands are sometimes recommended to hold the ears in the desired position for two weeks after the surgery. When you leave the surgical facility, Dr. Heinrich and his team will give you aftercare instructions to follow.
Recovery time is approximately one week and the results are permanent.
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