PROFILES Otoplasty FAQ’s
Q – What is otoplasty?
Otoplasty, also known as ear surgery, is a plastic surgery procedure designed to set back prominent ears closer to the head or reduce the size of large ears. The surgery is most often performed on patients aged four to fourteen, and can be very beneficial in minimizing self-consciousness and poor adaption at school resulting from distorted ears.
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Q – Who is a good candidate for otoplasty?
Those who are unhappy with the appearance of the ears may be good candidates for otoplasty. As with all types of facial plastic surgery, it’s essential that patients be in good health and have realistic expectations. It’s also important that patients have a positive attitude, particularly when surgery is performed on children or adolescents. Younger patients can undergo otoplasty once the ears have reached their full size, typically by the age of five or six. Adult patients should understand that fully developed ears do not have the same molding capacity as younger ears.
Q – At what age can otoplasty be performed?
Otoplasty can be performed on younger patients once the ears have reached their full size. This tends to occur around the age of five or six. Otoplasty is often performed on adult patients as well, though fully matured ears do not have the same molding capacity as in younger patients.
Q – What does the consultation for otoplasty entail?
During your consultation with Dr. Litner or Dr. Solieman, you will discuss what you dislike about your ears. When the patient is a child, the doctor will help the parent to determine if surgery is the best option, both aesthetically and psychologically. A thorough medical history will be taken and any questions you have answered. Once you decide to go ahead with surgery, all aspects of the otoplasty procedure will be explained including the technique, the anesthesia, the facility, the recovery, the risks, and the costs.
Q – Where is otoplasty performed?
Otoplasty is often performed as an outpatient procedure in a hospital, outpatient surgery center, or a surgeon’s office-based surgical facility. On occasion, the surgery may be performed as an inpatient procedure with an overnight hospital stay.
Q – What type of anesthesia will be used for my otoplasty surgery?
Dr. Litner and Dr. Solieman commonly use general anesthesia for younger patients, and local anesthesia with mild sedation for older children and adults.
Q – How is the otoplasty surgery performed?
Once anesthesia is administered, an incision will be made which is commonly located in the back of the ear. Several different techniques may be used and will be determined by the particular problem. In some cases, the ear cartilage may be sculpted and then bent back toward the head, often with the use of non-removable stitches to help maintain the shape. In other cases, a large piece of cartilage may be removed to create a more natural-looking fold. Both ears are typically treated even when only one ear is misshapen or protruding so that balance can be achieved.
Q – How long does the surgery for otoplasty take to perform?
Otoplasty often takes two to three hours to perform. More complicated procedures may take longer.
Q – Where are the incisions for otoplasty made?
The incisions for otoplasty are most often located behind the ear.
Q – Will I have scars after otoplasty?
The incisions for otoplasty do result in scars, though they tend to be small and very well-concealed behind the ears.
Q – Will I be in much pain after undergoing otoplasty?
Some throbbing or aching of the ears may occur during the first few days after the otoplasty procedure. Medication can be prescribed to relieve this.
Q – What is the recovery like after otoplasty?
Patients may feel some throbbing or aching of the ears during the first several days after surgery which can be relieved with medication. Sleep patterns may be disrupted for patients used to sleeping on their sides as pressure cannot be put on the ears. The bandage applied to the head after surgery is usually removed within a few days and replaced by a lighter dressing similar to a headband. The stitches are removed in about one week, or absorbable stitches will dissolve on their own.
Q – How soon will I be able to return to work after my otoplasty surgery?
Adult patients are typically able to resume work within three days after surgery, and children can return to school in about five days after surgery.
Q – How soon will I be able to exercise after my otoplasty procedure?
Strenuous activities may need to be postponed for one to two months after the otoplasty surgery. Young patients will need to be careful on the playground once they return to school. It’s recommended that parents ask the child’s teacher to keep an eye on them for a few weeks.
Q – When will the stitches be removed after my otoplasty procedure?
The stitches are removed in about one week after the otoplasty surgery. If absorbable sutures are used, they will dissolve on their own.
Q – Are there any risks associated with otoplasty?
As with all types of surgery, otoplasty does have potential risks which may include adverse anesthesia reactions, blood clot, excessive scarring, infection, mismatched or artificial-looking ears, and recurrence of the protrusion.
Q – Is otoplasty covered by insurance?
Insurance does occasionally cover otoplasty and patients should check with their own insurance company.
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