Ear Surgery (Otoplasty & Pinnaplasty)

Surgery of the ear, also known as otoplasty or pinnaplasty, is a procedure that helps reduce protrusion of the ear to allow it to lie closer to the head. It can be performed on children from the age of four. Ears that “stick out” are often the source of teasing and ridicule in young children. This teasing can have a devastating effect on the child’s psyche and confidence and treatment is often considered pre-school.

If the problem is identified in the first few weeks after birth, splintage of the ear may be curative without the need for surgery.

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Reasons for Considering Ear Surgery:

Bring proportion to the face if the ears “stick out” too much.

Correct folded ear tops (lop ear).

Reshape long or offset earlobes.

Understanding The Journey

Ear surgery is usually performed under general anaesthesia for small children and local anaesthesia for older children and adults. Individuals often feel nauseous after a general anaesthetic and so local is preferred, when possible. Surgery is carried out through an incision hidden in the crease behind the ear. The cartilage is reshaped in order to position the ear closer to the head.

After ear surgery a head bandage is put on, which is usually removed within a week. A sweat band is then used during the day whilst any swelling remains and at night for 3-4 weeks to prevent any discomfort from the ears catching on the pillow. Whilst the ears are often tender for a few weeks afterwards, it is not a painful operation and only simple analgesia is required. If the ears are painful whilst the bandage is in place, it should be changed to exclude a pressure issue.

Patients can return to normal day to day activities once they feel comfortable with the bruising settling. Contact sports are best avoided for 4 weeks.

Otoplasty is usually a straight forward operation, producing happy patients. Infection and problems with bleeding are uncommon. Occasionally revision procedures are required to optimise the result. Ears, though, are never symmetrical. Occasionally the scars can thicken up and require further treatment. Solution for Scars can help minimize this.

Ear Surgery

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