Having overly prominent ears can be a source of teasing for children and self-consciousness for adults. Otoplasty, or outer ear surgery, is designed to reduce the appearance of protruding ears by repositioning them to lie closer to the head. The surgery typically does not require an overnight stay; therefore, it is done in an outpatient surgical setting. Otoplasty involves making an incision behind the ear, sculpting the cartilage to reshape the ear and using stitches to “pin” the ears closer the head. These techniques reduce the protrusion of the ears. The surgery will leave behind only a small scar which is predominately hidden behind the ear.
Cosmetic ear surgery, like any other plastic surgery procedure, involves risks. With Otoplasty, complications are generally minimal. The risks and complications associated with the procedure are infection, blood clots (hematoma), overcorrection, asymmetry, numbness, and release of internal “pinning” sutures.
After the procedure is completed, the head is wrapped in gauze to serve as a pressure dressing to reduce the risk of blood clots forming and to promote proper healing at the incision site. The wrap is removed the next day. At this stage, the ears will appear bruised and swollen. After the bandages are removed, twice daily cleaning of the incision site with hydrogen peroxide and a light application of over-the-counter ointment such as Bacitracin will reduce bacteria and promote further healing. A headband will be worn to ensure proper healing and position of the ears. The headband is especially important at night while sleeping for 1 month. The external stitches are removed one week after the procedure. At this juncture, it is important to protect the ears from any trauma for 6 to 8 weeks. Light exercise may begin 4 weeks after surgery, with contact sports resumed after 8 weeks; however, recovery is unique to each individual. Dr. Jungkeit will determine activity levels upon post-operative examination.