About Ear Surgery
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.