Otoplasty – Ear Reconstruction
Wellspring Plastic Surgery, our team of doctors, are double board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeons and decorated with a plethora of awards. The group offers various plastic surgery options, including breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, genioplasty, and more specialized surgeries like otoplasty. Otoplasty, also known as cosmetic ear surgery, is the surgical reshaping of the outer ear to correct any irregularity or improve its appearance.
If you are bothered by your ears’ appearance, or if your ear(s) are deformed due to an injury or congenital disability, then otoplasty could be an excellent option to correct any ear shape-related issues.
Researching the ins and outs of delicate surgeries like otoplasty can be challenging, but we are here to help. Keep reading for a detailed breakdown of everything you need to know about otoplasty, beginning with what it is, how it works, the risks, and who is a good candidate for undergoing otoplasty.
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WHAT IS IT?
Otoplasty is a standard surgical procedure used to modify the ear’s shape, size, or position. The word stems from the root word “oto,” meaning ear, and “plasty,” meaning molding, formation. The surgery can be used for cosmetic purposes, such as repositioning ears that stick out or protrude. It can also be used for reconstructive purposes to correct deformed ears caused by an injury or present at the time of birth.
An otoplasty procedure involves making a small incision on the back of the ear or the inside fold in layman’s terms. Through the incision, the surgeon manipulates the tissue of the ear. This particular process can include removing cartilage, removing the skin, folding or shaping the cartilage with stitches, or grafting the ear’s cartilage.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
More technically speaking, there are a few different ways that otoplasty is performed depending on the ear’s specific need and desired appearance, including cartilage reshaping or ear repositioning. For cartilage reshaping, the surgery begins with an incision behind the ear. This incision and location allow the surgeon free range to rebuild the cartilage. Because of the area, patients will only have a small discrete scar following surgery. With a skilled surgeon and the correct surgical technique, patients will have complete symmetry of the ears and minimal scarring.
If the patient’s ear needs to be repositioned, there are a few techniques that surgeons choose from depending on the particular case. For example, surgeons can use cartilages sparing and scoring to achieve the desired position and shape. For ear repositioning, the surgeon will move the ear closer to the head after the ear(s) have been reshaped. The ear repositioning procedure is finalized with removable or traditional sutures.
HOW LONG IS RECOVERY?
Because otoplasty is local (meaning that it is a small area of the body), patients can expect to undergo general anesthesia or intravenous sedation. Intravenous sedation is known as “conscious anesthesia” and means that the doctor administers an anti-anxiety drug to relax you instead of putting you entirely to sleep. With any surgery, there will be risks. However, most patients have minimal risks with otoplasty. Additionally, following the procedure, most patients experience minimal issues, and patients can expect to return to work, light activity, and regular life within a week of the procedure. At two weeks, most patients experience final results. Note that each person’s recovery is unique.
*Always consult your surgeon or doctor if you have any complications.
WHO IS A GOOD CANDIDATE?
In most cases, otoplasty is not necessary. However, when necessary, most healthy adults and children over the age of five are excellent candidates for otoplasty. Because every person is unique, you will need to consult a surgeon/doctor to confirm your eligibility.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
In terms of cost, check with providers local to you as the cost can vary depending on your surgeon, location, and technique. However, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average otoplasty price is $3,156.
IS IT WORTH IT?
Cosmetic ear surgery can boost self-confidence and allow patients to feel comfortable and confident. If you have ear defects or characteristics that are bothersome (i.e., if your ears protrude out further than your face), otoplasty is an option to correct these characteristics.
When determining if the cost and downtime are worth it, consider the results. After just a relatively quick surgery and two weeks of mild recovery, otoplasty provides a permanent and life-long solution to correcting protruding ears and ear deformities. Most patients find that correcting even the smallest ear deformities is life-changing. It is impossible to quantify the confidence that patients feel after undergoing otoplasty.
If you are interested in otoplasty and have verified that you are a good candidate, make sure that your next step is to do an adequate amount of research on your surgeon options. Research shouldn’t feel overwhelming, but you should feel confident that your surgeon is well-qualified and board-certified. Take it a step further in the research process and read your surgeon’s reviews.