Ear reshaping (Adult and Pediatric Otoplasty)
About the procedureEar reshaping, or otoplasty, is a plastic surgery procedure to improve the appearance of the ears. Ear deformities, such as a prominent ear, are common among the general population with up to 5% of the population having some type of abnormality. In most cases, ear deformities or asymmetries are due to either an underdeveloped antihelical fold or having an excess of conchal cartilage (a deep conchal bowl).
In order to correct improve the appearance of the ears, Dr. Hirsch will perform an otoplasty procedure. Before the surgery, Dr. Hirsch will perform a careful physical examination of the ear to figure out exactly what is causing the ears to be misshapen so that he can correct the problem. Next, Dr. Hirsch will make an incision in the back of the ear and will use this incision to expose the ear cartilage. Then, using a variety of suture techniques and cartilage scoring and excision, he will reshape the ears so that they are more aesthetically pleasing. This procedure can be performed in patients of many different ages, and can be performed under local anesthesia in the office as well!
Most patients do not experience much pain or discomfort following otoplasty. After surgery, Dr. Hirsch may put a special dressing on patient’s ears that will remain in place until the first post operative visit in order to minimize the chances of bleeding. After this is removed, patients can often return to their normal activities, typically 1-2 weeks following surgery. No drains are used during otoplasty.
Frequently asked questions about ear reshaping or otoplasty:
My baby was born with abnormally shaped ears. Is there anything that can be done to change this?
Abnormally shaped ears are very common among newborns. The best time to reshape babies ears is in the first 1-2 weeks! During this time period, there are still residual hormones from the mother that are within the circulation of the baby. These hormones cause the cartilage of the ears to remain flexible, which allows them to be molded and shaped. For ears that need minor reshaping, Dr. Hirsch will use a special stent that can be taped to the ears to make minor adjustments. The stent will remain in place for 2-4 weeks, after which time it can be removed. For ears that need more reshaping, other options such as the Earwell device, can be used.
What is the right age to perform an otoplasty procedure?
There is no right or wrong age to perform an otoplasty. Common times to perform pediatric otoplasty include before children enter school, before entering middle school, or before high school. Adult otoplasty can be performed at any age.
When can I shower after an otoplasty?
It is ok to shower the next night after an otoplasty. If Dr. Hirsch places a bolster dressing on your ears after the otoplasty, you should keep it clean and dry until Dr. Hirsch removes the dressing.
Additional resources about ear reshaping (otoplasty)
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