Otoplasty, or ear surgery, is one of the most common cosmetic surgery procedures for children. The socialization of the adolescent is difficult enough. Children who appear to be even slightly different from others are commonly ostracized. As parents we want our children to adjust normally and develop and maintain self-confidence that carries throughout life. Many children sustain substantial peer abuse if they have large prominent ears.
What Otoplasty Can Correct
Ear surgery is for addressing malformed ears. When you or your child consults with Dr. Daria Hamrah, he will assess whether or not otoplasty is a plausible solution. Common problems ear surgery can fix are:
- Protruding ears
- Large earlobes
- “Cupped ears,” which are very tiny ears or an ear without creases
- “Lopped ears,” which is when the ear tip bends down and forward
Best Time for Otoplasty
Ear surgery can only be performed on a patient whose ears have fully developed. This typically occurs by the age of four and there are no additional risks for otoplasty associated with age. Parents often choose for their child to have ear surgery at a young age so they will be spared humiliation from their peers at school.
While adults are still able to have their ears cosmetically adjusted, the results are limited because fully developed adult ears have firmer cartilage than children.
Otoplasty, or ear-pinning surgery, is a relatively simple procedure performed under monitored conscious sedation on an outpatient basis. It is best timed for summer and holiday vacations so that the minor incisions concealed behind the ears are allowed adequate time for healing. With minimal pain medication, our patients are comfortable and tolerate the procedure and recovery with remarkable ease. The method Dr. Hamrah uses to cosmetically adjust ears depends on the patient’s goals and current ear aesthetics.
Patients who desire an adjustment of ear cartilage have an incision made in discreet location behind the ear. Dr. Hamrah will then sculpt the ear cartilage, adjust its position to make it appear more natural, and remove any excess cartilage to increase the ear’s aesthetics. Non-removable stitches are used to secure the cartilage in place.
For those who require skin removed from their ear, a discreet incision is made, excess skin removed and the cartilage is pulled back. While non-removable stitches are used to keep the adjusted cartilage in place, dissolvable stitches are used to seal the incision.
Recovery from Otoplasty
Since young children have extremely pliable ear cartilage, they should refrain from physical activity for three weeks after the procedure. Otherwise they risk compromising the final result. Adults can return to normal activity after three days.
Common side effects during the recovery process include:
- A lack of sensation at the incision that can last upwards of six months
- Minor discomfort and numbness
For more information, see Otoplasty (Ear Surgery) Questions.
If you live in the Washington, D.C. or Northern Virginia areas and you are considering otoplasty for yourself or your child, please contact Dr. Hamrah today to schedule your personal consultation.