Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)
Otoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure designed to correct prominent and protruding ears, as well as malformed ears. The procedure involves reshaping ear cartilage using cartilage scoring and suture setback techniques and setting the ear closer to the head. On occasions excess skin is removed from behind the ear. Ear surgery is used to reposition protruding ears for a more balanced and symmetrical look. The goal of the procedure is always to create a natural, understated shape and the incisions are concealed behind the ear. At our Bayside Plastic Surgery practice in Melbourne, ear surgery can also be used in a reconstructive capacity to rebuild and reshape ears that are malformed due to injury or birth defect. We invite you to read about this work on the paediatric plastic surgery section of this website.
Who is a candidate for ear surgery?
Setback otoplasty surgery is appropriate for both children and adults. In children we usually recommend that the surgery is delayed until ear growth is advanced enough for the effects of surgery to be long-lasting. Also children need to be old enough to cooperate with their postoperative care to ensure a satisfactory outcome. For most children this is around the age of 5 to 6 years. Cosmetic surgery on the ears can provide remarkable results for those who are self-conscious about their ear size, shape or position.
If your ears are overly prominent or if you feel your ears are unattractively shaped, please contact us today to schedule a consultation at our Melbourne cosmetic surgery practice, Bayside Plastic Surgery. Dr Ross will undertake an aesthetic assessment and suggest a treatment plan to address your concerns.
What can I expect during and after ear surgery?
There are several surgical techniques used in undertaking setback otoplasty procedures. Although the procedure can be undertaken under local anaesthesia, most patients prefer general anaesthesia due to the 90 minutes duration of the procedure. Initially incisions are made behind the ear and the ear cartilage in mobilised to allow reshaping. This is undertaken using cartilage scoring to weaken the ear cartilage and suture setback techniques to reshape the ear. Then the ear is repositioned to the side of the head also with suture techniques. Finally excessive skin is removed and the incisions closed. The ears are then placed in a protective dressing to minimise discomfort and prevent swelling. It is best to leave the dressing intact for 2 weeks to allow adequate healing. Children are able to return to school while wearing their dressings but exertional and sporting pursuits are best avoided for 6 weeks. It is recommended that some ear protection is worn for 6 weeks after surgery, especially at night, to protect the ears from trauma in the early healing phase. Scarring from the procedure is usually minimal and hidden behind the ear.