In the world of plastic surgery, often times the words for simple procedures may sound much more complicated than they truly are. Otoplasty is one of them. Unless you’ve been looking into one or have friends who are plastic surgeons, chances are it’s a word that you don’t throw around in general conversation.
If you’ve ever looked in the mirror and find yourself unhappy with the way your ears look, then you may want to consider otoplasty.
What Is Otoplasty?
Otoplasty is a cosmetic surgery procedure performed to change the appearance of the shape, position, or size of the ears. You may have heard it referred to as an “ear pinning” surgery as well. When a person’s ears are protruding or asymmetrical, they may opt for otoplasty.
Protruding ears can lead to low self-confidence, but the condition can be easily fixed. Some people have this issue due to the underdevelopment of one of the cartilage parts of the ear. For many people, only one ear is the source of their angst, while others will need to have surgery on both ears. A plastic surgeon can recreate the structure of the ear so the ears look better positioned and more symmetrical.
Otoplasties can be done on children and adults. For kids, it’s usually best to wait until the ears are fully developed before considering any plastic surgery. When you have the initial consultation with your plastic surgeon, he or she will go over all of the options and explain what the procedure will do and what to expect. You will also discuss whether or not you are a good candidate for otoplasty and if not, what procedure would better suit you.
If you have an idea of what you want your ears to look like post-surgery, bring those images to your consultation. This will give your surgeon a better idea of what you’re hoping to accomplish. It will also allow them to tell you if what you’re hoping to look like is realistic for the shape of your face.
During your consultation, your surgeon will also share before and after photos with you to show you examples of previous work so you can have a better idea of what to expect. This is the best time to ask any questions about the procedure before moving forward. It’s also important to know that since otoplasty is a cosmetic procedure, it’s typically not covered by insurance and is an out-of-pocket expense.
How Is Otoplasty Performed?
Otoplasty is not as intimidating as it sounds. During the procedure, the plastic surgeon will take skin from the back of the ear and also sculpt the underlying cartilage for better shaping and positioning. Otoplasty usually takes under three hours to complete and you can go home shortly thereafter. Typically, local anesthesia or general anesthesia is used. It is done in the doctor’s office, so no hospital stay is required.
What Type of Recovery Can I Expect?
After the surgery, you’ll need to wear a dressing over your ears to protect them, but that will come off after 1-2 days. You can expect to wear a headband to cover your ears at all times for about one week after the surgery. The sutures that are used will dissolve on their own so you don’t need to worry about having them removed. In order to reduce any soreness, you may want to sleep on your back, so you’re not pressing on your ear.
Once all of the dressings are removed, you should see an immediate difference in the size and shape of the ears. There will still be some swelling to contend with, so don’t get nervous if your ears aren’t perfect immediately after surgery. Give your body time to heal.
Dr. Keith Ladner is an experienced plastic surgeon and has performed countless otoplasties. He will examine your facial structure to determine if you are a good candidate for otoplasty and explain your options. Dr. Ladner is double-board certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery as well as the American Board of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery. Call Dr. Ladner’s office today at (303) 253-7686 or go online to schedule a consultation.