Otoplasty, if your ears are an issue

Posted on January 13th, 2010 by LookinGood Team

earsOtoplasty: A surgical procedure done to correct misshaped or protruding ears.

Did you know that regardless of the size of your head or the rest of your body, your ears are full-grown by the time you’re 4 years old?  Explains a lot doesn’t it? Including why otoplasty was the 10th most common cosmetic surgery performed in 2008 and ranked 26th among all cosmetic procedures.  The majority of these surgeries are done on children between the ages of 4 and 14, but adults, too, opt for this procedure to either reshape or lessen the protrusion of their ears, often in conjunction with other facial surgeries.

Regardless of age, it is done primarily for cosmetic reasons, to make the patient less self-conscious and boost esteem. Remember the beginning of the Disney movie “Dumbo”?  Yeah, kids and grownups alike can be mean when your ears are too big.

The age of the patient has no effect on the risk associated with the surgery.  In the procedure, an incision is made behind the ear and cartilage and skin are removed to achieve the desired shape and result.  In some cases, permanent stitches are used to hold the ear in position.  Because the incision is made in the fold where the ear meets the head, the resulting thin scar is rarely noticeable.  To maintain symmetry, it is always performed on both ears.

Otoplasty is usually outpatient surgery lasting one to three hours, and the cost ranges from $2,000 to $5,000.  Younger children usually receive general anesthetic, but it can be performed using local anesthetic with older children and adults.  This surgery also has one of the quickest recovery times.  The patient’s head is wrapped in bulky bandages for a couple of days after surgery for healing purposes and to help hold the ears’ new shape. That dressing is replaced by smaller bandages or a headband, possibly for two weeks. Sleep could be disrupted because no pressure can be put on the ears, and there is likely to be some throbbing and pain for up to seven days following the procedure. Both adults and children can resume normal activities after a week, but should be careful to avoid situations in which the ear may be bent for at least a month.


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