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Otoplasty

(Cosmetic ear surgery or ear reshaping)

Keeping it simple

What is Otoplasty?

Oto stands for ear and Plasty stands for moulding/surgical repair.

This cosmetic ear surgery is performed to reshape, reconstruct, or replace a deformed, defective or missing external ear (pinna).

Cosmetic otoplasty: The ear pinning surgery or otopexy where a large ear or extruding ears are “pinned” back towards the patient’s head.

Reconstructive otoplasty: A surgery to develop the outer ear after injury or ear augmentation to correct severe congenital defects of the ear like Microtia or Anotia. Other congenital defects of the ear such as Cagot Ear, Cat’s Ear, Scroll Ear, Lop-Ear and Wildermuth’s Ear can also be corrected.

Otoplasty can be carried out after the ears have reached their standard size which is usually after the age of 5 years old.

With adults, it is important to know that the ear is fully developed, and will not remould after surgery as easily as the softer cartilage which children have.

Keeping it simple

The Otoplasty Procedure

Ear pinning combines removal of the skin from the back of the ear, cartilage sparing and scoring with nonabsorbable mattress pull back sutures. This combination of techniques helps the surgeon to construct the ideal shape and better positioning of the patient’s ears.

There are two techniques that are commonly used to perform ear pinning or ear reshaping during otoplasty:

Cartilage sparing

In this technique, a surgeon uses stitches and sutures to change the ear’s position and shape. A cartilage sparing otoplasty surgery is non-invasive, often resulting in smooth, natural-looking curvatures.

Cartilage scoring

In this technique, a surgeon creates incisions(cuts) in the cartilage to rearrange, add, or remove the tissue. There is a greater risk of scarring when this technique is used, but those scars are difficult to see.

In both cases, your surgeon will begin by making a small incision at the back of your ear, allowing access the cartilage for the necessary procedure. After the surgery is complete, the cartilage is then reshaped and excess skin is removed. Finally, if necessary, the ear is repositioned more closely to the head, before the incision site is secured with stitches. Once the otoplasty surgery is complete, the patient’s head will be wrapped with special heavily-padded cotton bandages, referred to as “fluff bandages”, for healing. The actual surgery will last about 2-3 hours, depending on the complexity of the procedure for your particular case.

In the case of reconstructive otoplasty, cartilage can be removed from the patient’s ribs to augment the ear and help it to gain a more natural look. If a skin graft is necessary, the tissue is usually transferred from the patient’s upper buttock area.

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Otoplasty

Downtime and Recovery

For a few days after surgery, the patient can remove the fluff bandages, but we recommend wearing a lighter bandage for another few days. Approximately one week following the procedure, all bandages can be removed. To heal properly we recommend the following aftercare:
  • Patients should avoid any activities that could impact the ears until completely healed. This is particularly important to remember for young children: they should not play or overexert themselves.
  • Patients should not wash their hair with shampoo for up to one week after the surgery.
  • Patients must try not to sleep on their side during recovery.

Keeping it simple

Otoplasty Results

Otoplasty gives immediate results in cases of protruding ears, the outcome of which can be seen once the dressings, that support the new shape of the ear during initial phases of healing, are removed. As the ears after surgery are permanently positioned closer to the head, surgical scars are either hidden behind the ear or in the natural creases of the ear. The outcome of more extensive cosmetic otoplasty and reconstructive otoplasty may appear in stages over time. The patient can return to school or work within a week of the surgery. Regular activity and exercise can restart within two weeks. If you’re unsatisfied with your results, ask your surgeon about the possibility of revision surgery.

The goal of otoplasty is to surgically correct protruding or deformed ears. Otoplasty will not alter hearing ability. What is important for successful otoplasty is that the ears align in proportion to the size and shape of the face and head.

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