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While most cosmetic procedures are only for adults, ear surgery (otoplasty) is actually performed more often in children between the ages of 4 and 14. If your child’s ears seem asymmetrical, misshapen or disproportionate to the head and other facial features, cosmetic ear surgery can help him or her feel less self-conscious. And of course, adults who have concerns about the appearance of their ears can be helped through ear surgery as well.
Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Otto Placik has helped kids and adults from Chicago and the surrounding suburbs feel more positive about the shape and placement of their ears with cosmetic ear surgery. Additionally, Dr. Placik offers a full range of facial cosmetic surgery procedures to help you feel and look your best.
Please contact us online or call our Chicago or Arlington Heights plastic surgery offices for more information on ear surgery, including prices.
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Unlike other parts of the body, the ears reach their full mature growth quite early in life and are at about 85 percent of their final size when a child is around age 4 or 5. Because prominent ears can lead to teasing, bullying and damaged self-esteem particularly in children, scheduling otoplasty is typically something that occurs in childhood rather than adulthood. Ear surgery can also be performed on adults who have always felt uncomfortable about the size, shape or position of their ears, or to correct a childhood otoplasty that delivered subpar results.
During surgery, Dr. Placik places incisions behind the ear where they can be fully hidden in the ear’s natural creases and folds. Sutures may be used to “pin” the ear back permanently, or Dr. Placik may remove a tiny wedge of cartilage for additional improvement or longer-lasting results. The level of correction achieved during otoplasty (sometimes called “ear pinning”) can range from quite subtle to dramatic results depending on your cosmetic goals.
Otoplasty is most often performed as a simple outpatient procedure using IV sedation or general anesthesia, and the surgery itself usually takes just an hour or two. Discomfort after ear surgery is usually mild, and can be controlled with oral medication.
Following surgery, Dr. Placik will ask that you keep your head elevated, and apply a compressive dressing that needs to be worn for about a week. After the first week, the bandages can be exchanged for a headband that’s worn just while sleeping for the following 3 weeks to protect the healing cartilage and help maintain the ears in their new position.
In a select group of neonates, in whom the congenital ear deformity is recognized at birth, there exists a nonsurgical option called the EarWell™. This is best applied in the first weeks following delivery, when the ear cartilage is soft and capable of being molded. After three weeks, the success of the EarWell™ device declines.
Correction of cleft or split earlobes or those deformed by trauma, earrings, piercings or gauges may also be repaired with relatively simple procedures under local anesthesia.
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A child or adult who feels troubled by the appearance of ears that look uneven, stick out too far (or not far enough) or in other ways lead to feelings of embarrassment or result in teasing may be a candidate for otoplasty. Otoplasty can be performed as long as the ear has reached most of its mature growth, normally around the age of 4 or 5. The EarWell™ device is optimally applied within the first 3 weeks of life.
Generally speaking, the preference of both surgeons and parents is to perform ear surgery sooner rather than later. The younger your child is at the time of surgery, the better the chance of preventing the most damaging psychological effects that could occur from being teased. The key is to find a balance between sufficient physical maturity of the ears and enough emotional maturity that the child can cooperate during the recovery process.
The cost of cosmetic ear surgery differs from patient to patient depending on many different considerations, like the level of correction that’s needed, the age of the patient and the surgical approach Dr. Placik recommends. In some cases, your health insurance policy may cover all or part of the procedure if it’s considered medically necessary. Dr. Placik and his staff strive to provide excellent value and can help you with cosmetic surgery financing to make your procedure even more affordable.
Although cosmetic ear surgery is most commonly associated with ear pinning for too-prominent ears, otoplasty by definition can include the correction of any number of aesthetic concerns related to the ear, including ears that are too small or sit too close to the head. Ear surgery can also refer to earlobe repair after a torn piercing or to close stretched ear lobes after wearing gauged jewelry.
Otoplasty is a relatively simple surgery, and that means a fairly straightforward recovery as well. The patient can return home the same day of the surgery, and should notice results within the first month. Ears should look more balanced in relation to other facial features, with concerns over aesthetic appearance largely resolved.
Otoplasty is a commonly performed procedure that carries minimal risks such as blood clots or infection. Occasionally, patients (particularly children) may notice that the somewhat elastic cartilage “springs back” to some degree, although this is not typical. More serious concerns such as overcorrection, irregular contours, cartilage infection or hearing complications, while possible, are also very rare.
Dr. Placik promises you his best possible care and attention. If you would like to schedule a private consultation to learn more about cosmetic ear surgery, please contact us online or call us at 847-398-1660.