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Ear Surgery

Protruding Ear Plastic Surgery

People with large or outward-projecting ears are often self-conscious of the prominence of this feautre. An otoplasty is a procedure performed by a plastic surgeon to reshape the ears, pin them closer to the head, or decrease their overall size. At age four, the ears have grown to their full size, and many parents opt to correct the obvious feature early in a child’s life to protect them from juvenile ridicule. Many otoplasty patients are aged four to fourteen, although this procedure can be performed on persons of any age.

Ideal candidates for an otoplasty surgery understand the procedure, and wish to change the appearance of their ears. Patients should be healthy, both physically and mentally, to endure any cosmetic procedure. Parents are responsible for speaking with their children about the procedure, despite their presence at the consultation. Most younger children need their parents guidance throughout the entire otoplasty process.


Undergoing a Protruding Ear Plastic Surgery

An otoplasty is generally performed in two to three hours in a surgical facility, a surgeon’ office, or hospital. Surgery times will vary with each patient’s particular case. Many surgical techniques require the surgeon to create an incision in the back of the ear that is hidden by its natural crease. During one type of otoplasty, the cartilage of the ear is molded back toward the head, and the new shape is supported by permanent sutures. A portion of the cartilage may be removed after the sutures are in place if the ear takes on an unnatural shape. A second method for cosmetic ear surgery requires the removal of skin, and the placement of sutures to crease two parts of cartilage on top of one another to shape the ear. During this procedure, cartilage is not removed.

In certain cases, patients wish to correct only one ear, while they feel secure with the shape or size of their other ear. Because the ideal end result is symmetry between the two ears, Dr. Gentile may suggest a slight modification of the second ear. The terms of the surgery will be discussed beforehand.

An otoplasty commonly reforms protruding ears, however, there are other issues of the ears that plastic surgery can correct. A “cupped ear” is when the ear appears very small, while a “lop ear” is of normal proportions, but bends forward or downward at the top. A physical abnormality called “shell ear” is when the ear lacks natural creases. The ear lobes often stretch due to stress or age, but can be smoothed free of wrinkles and decreased in size. Due to modern advancements, plastic surgeons can also reconstruct ears that have been damaged, or were never fully formed at all.

When Dr. Gentile has finished performing an otoplasty procedure, bandages will be placed around the head to protect the ears and maintain their new shape. Otoplasties are performed on an outpatient basis, so patients may return home following their surgery.


Risk Factors of an Otoplasty Plastic Surgery

Any surgery carries the risk of a patient reacting negatively to the anesthesia, or other unanticipated complications based on individual anatomy. An experienced facial plastic surgeon such as Dr. Gentile performs each otoplasty with precision and care, which further decreases potential risks. Infections and blood clots may occur with healing, but each can be treated by a doctor if they do not go away on their own. More often, complications arise during the recovery period, due to improper care by the patient so it is important to follow the pre and post-surgical instructions.


After the Surgery Procedure




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Following the procedure, the ears may cause minor discomfort in patients. Some people feel an aching or throbbing sensation in the ears, which pain medication may remedy. A few days after an otoplasty, the bandages will be removed and replaced by a medical headband. Wearing this piece is crucial to the healing process, particularly during sleep. Stitches will be removed or dissolve on their own in a week.

Normal activities, such as work or school, may be returned to five to seven days post-operatively. After one month of healing, physically inclined activites can be resumed. Notify your child’s teacher of their surgery so they can take safety precautions during school hours.