Address Your Cosmetic Concerns with Ear Surgery
Ear reshaping, ear pinning, or otoplasty is a wonderful operation to treat prominent or misshapen ears. This is the most commonly performed procedure in children or adolescents in an attempt to limit the teasing that they may endure as a result of the issue. Ear size and shape can be adjusted to fit the patient’s facial dimensions and to match the opposite ear if the condition is one-sided.
Ear surgery can range from adding cartilage to a poorly formed ear to removing excess cartilage from a prominent ear. Most commonly prominent ears are “pinned” closer to the head to make them less noticeable and let patients be less self-conscious about them. The majority of patients want their ears to “just go away” and not be something that anyone takes note of.
Our San Diego patients can undergo ear surgery at our La Jolla area office as an outpatient; following surgery, they can return home where they should rest for a few days.
Ideal Candidates for Ear Surgery
Children and adults who have problems with the appearance of their ears can both undergo ear surgery. Good candidates have ears that either bend forward or downwards. For children, the best candidates are those who are:
- Physically healthy, with no serious medical condition or ear infections
- 5 years old or when the cartilage is stable enough for surgery
- Vocal about their feelings and cooperative with Dr. Marin
Adults who are good candidate for an ear surgery are:
- Physically and emotionally healthy who do not have any serious medical conditions that may affect the healing
- With realistic expectations about the surgery and its outcomes
Defects of the Ears
Defects of the ears can be congenital or accidental. For congenital cases, there are plenty of reasons why ears fail to fully develop. It can range from an unnoticeable asymmetry to a complete lack of formation. On the other hand, others may experience defects because of blunt trauma or injury of the ear. It may be caused by car accidents, sport injuries, and even dog or cat bites.
The specific ear problem dictates which surgery is required to correct the deformity. Some of the most common defects of the ears which can be treated by ear surgery are the following:
- Stahl’s Ear Deformity – Pointed ears, like an elf’s ear
- Cat’s Ear – Edges of the ear are folded forward
- Lop Ear – Ear curves are severely inward, like a cup
- Scroll Ear – Ears are curled forward, like an unread scroll
- Wildermuth’s Ear – Top ear curve is reversed, bending towards the scalp
- Microtia – Underdeveloped ears
- Macrotia – Overly large ears
WHAT TO EXPECT FOR YOUR
2 – 3 hours
Pain, bleeding, infection, incomplete improvement, recurrence
1 – 2 months for swelling to completely resolve
General anesthesia (occasionally local anesthetic with IV sedation)
Back to work with makeup: 1 week
More strenuous activity: 2 – 3 weeks
DURATION OF RESULTS
Temporary swelling, bruising and some pain.
Undergoing Ear Surgery
An ear surgery is performed under a local or general anesthetic depending upon the severity of the condition and the comfort level of the patient. This is an outpatient procedure which may last for 2-3 hours. Since it is a highly individualized procedure, the technique that Dr. Marin chooses depends on the amount of correction needed for the patient’s ears to look more natural.
Once the anesthesia settles, the correction of prominent ears begins with a small incision made behind the ear. In particular, the incision is put in the natural fold where the ear is joined to the head.
The ear cartilage is then manipulated and folded in a manner to restore a normal and more aesthetically appealing appearance. Dr. Marin trims the cartilage and shapes it to a more attractive form. In some cases, Dr. Marin removes cartilage and skin if it is necessary to achieve the final look. Our surgeon can also refrain from removing any cartilage at all, and instead use pins to keep the cartilage in place permanently.
This part of the procedure is accomplished using sutures and/or weakening of the cartilage itself. Dissolvable sutures are placed behind the ear followed by a protective head dressing to help maintain the new position of the ears.
After Your Ear Surgery
For the first 24 hours after your surgery, you will have to wear a mild compressive garment on your head. You may be eager to get a glimpse of your new and improved ears, but they will appear slightly larger and more swollen than you are expecting. However, this is only temporary. As you progress with your recovery, your ears will gradually settle on their final appearance.
Your bandages will be replaced with thinner ones after a few days. Removal of all bandages may come in after a week of your ear surgery. You may also be asked to wear soft headbands to hold your ears in the proper position. Dr. Marin may require you to wear the headband while you sleep at night as well.
Recovery and Scarring
Recovery from ear surgery takes time. It is essential for you to know what to expect in the process and follow Dr. Marin’s instructions to heal fast and properly. The appearance of your ears will change and improve as you proceed with your recovery. You may return to work a week after your surgery.
Here are some important postoperative care instructions that you should follow to get the best results from your ear surgery:
- Avoid exerting too much effort and performing physically strenuous activities that may affect your newly operated ears. Children are also advised not to play around too much.
- Do not wash your hair with shampoo until a week after the surgery.
- Keep your head elevated as much as possible. Use extra, comfortable pillows when sleeping or resting. This helps in reducing the swelling.
- Sleep on your back – not on your sides. This may pose as a problem in keeping your new ears to their proper position.
- Keep your head as cool as possible during the recovery. Extreme heat like blow dryers is not advised.
Your New Look After Ear Surgery
Under normal circumstances, the results of otoplasty are permanent. One of the best benefits otoplasty can bring is that your new ears can enhance your confidence and self-esteem. To an extent, teasing from other people may be avoided as well. With natural-looking ears that fit your facial features, you may just stop from being self-conscious of them.
Although the cost of ear surgery varies depending on the patient’s unique condition, it typically costs between $4,500 and $5,500. Contact our San Diego office for a consultation with Dr. Marin about ear surgery.
Request Your Consultation
To learn more, you can schedule an appointment online or you can call 858-638-9800