Otoplasty is a procedure to improve the shape or position of the ears. It is commonly performed on ears that: a) are large in proportion to the rest of the facial features; b) protrude to a significant degree from the head; or c) are irregularly shaped. Dr. Samuel Pearl offers otoplasty at his Mountain View plastic surgery practice. He would be happy to meet with you to discuss the procedure in further detail and to determine whether it is a good fit for your needs.
Otoplasty can help individuals that are bothered by unattractive or disfigured ears, including ears that are:
- Have a congenital or acquired irregularity (e.g., “lop ear,” in which the tip of the ear folds down; or “shell ear,” in which the natural curves and folds of the ear are missing)
Otoplasty candidates should be physically and psychologically healthy, not smoke and not have any life-threatening medical conditions that could affect the surgical healing process. Ideally, candidates have a positive outlook regarding the surgery and reasonable goals and expectations that can be clearly communicated to Dr. Pearl.
Is Otoplasty Safe for Children?
Otoplasty may be safely performed on children, adolescents and adults. Performing otoplasty on a child can prevent possible psychological trauma from classmates’ teasing or bullying.
It is recommended that children seeking otoplasty be at least 5 or 6 years old before undergoing surgery — by that age, the ear cartilage is stable enough for correction. Young candidates will be carefully screened to ensure they are cooperative and can follow instructions.
More about the Surgery
Otoplasty is generally performed on an outpatient basis. Anesthesia medications are used for patient comfort.
Dr. Pearl will make the incisions behind the ear. Through the incisions, he will resize and sculpt the supporting tissue of the ears to bring them into better proportion with the head and/or position them closer to the head (“ear pinning”). Or, Dr. Pearl may correct any structural irregularities, such as “shell ear” or “lop ear.” Non-removable sutures may be placed internally to support the ear’s new structure. When Dr. Pearl is finished making the surgical modifications, he will close the incisions with sutures and place soft dressings.
Following surgery, the ears may feel numb. Also, there may be mild swelling or bruising. These side effects will improve with time. Any pain can be controlled with oral medication as prescribed by Dr. Pearl. It’s important to avoid straining, bending, heavy lifting or any activities that could result in sudden, harmful contact to the ears. Dr. Pearl will advise when it is safe to return to school or work, exercise and other normal activities.
Once the ears have healed, they will look more proportional to your head and well positioned. Any irregularities in shape will be corrected. Over time, scarring will fade. Any visible scars will be hidden within the natural creases of the skin.