Ear reshaping, also known as otoplasty, is intended to place protruding ears in a more natural position. This surgery may be performed any time after the age of four or five. By that time, the ears have reached 85% of its adult size so there will be little, if any, subsequent change.
Otoplasty may last between two to three hours. To begin, your surgeon will fold your ear forward and make a small incision in the back or the ear to expose the ear cartilage. Depending on your particular needs, a piece of cartilage may or may not then be removed. The cartilage is folded back on itself, pinned, and sutured to maintain the newly created shape of your ear.
For younger children, general anesthesia is commonly used so they will sleep throughout the procedure. For teenagers and adults, surgeons prefer to use local anesthesia and may combine it with a sedative. This way you will be awake, but very relaxed
Your initial consultation is extremely important. You should be able to speak freely with your surgeon about your goals and desired outcome. Be prepared to provide your medical history and inform your surgeon of any vitamins and medications (including over-the-counter) that you are taking. Make sure to tell your surgeon if you smoke, have uncontrolled high blood pressure, allergies, blood clotting problems, or the tendency to form excessive scars because these problems can affect the outcome of your surgery.
Work and School: You may return to work or school after approximately one week.
Discomfort: Your ears may ache and/or throb following surgery. This discomfort can be alleviated by medication prescribed by your surgeon. If pain persists, contact your surgeon immediately.
Recovery: Most patients will need to wear a tight fitting head-band for at least one month after the procedure in order to secure the ears in their new position. Activity where the ear may be forward (for example: football, wrestling, and other similar sports) should be avoided for a month following surgery. For children, be careful when playing on the playground.
Results: Each patient heals and scars differently. It is vital to keep in mind that the results of this procedure vary from patient to patient. However most patients will enjoy their final result within six to twelve months.