Ear Reshaping or “Octoplasty” corrects prominent ears. People often find prominent ears disconcerting to the point they’ll style their hair to hide their ears. Further, there is the association that ears that stand out make a person look unintelligent. As a result children are often teased at school. Adults are also concerned about their looks where it could affect their relationships.
However, there is good news: Otoplasty can successfully correct prominent ears.
Who can Benefit from Ear Reshaping?
Plastic surgeons perform ear reshaping on children to pin back prominent ears. However, surgeons also perform the procedure on adults who have endured years of taunting and bullying. If you are tired of the unwanted attention you get from the appearance of your ears, then Octoplasty is the procedure for you.
What to Expect from Ear Reshaping Surgery
Ear Reshaping, or pinning, involves a small incision behind the ear. The surgeon reshapes and manipulates the cartilage of the ear before stitching it into place. This flattens and improves the appearance of the ear. Your surgeon may remove some cartilage to get the perfect outcome. Scarring depends on each patient, but in the case of ear reshaping, the natural crease of the ear hides the scars. Post-surgical scarring reduces over the weeks as it heals and is typically nearly invisible to patients.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Otoplasty?
This procedure is performed to correct prominent ears and place them closer to your head. Other problems which can be corrected are large or “lop” ears. An Otoplasty is usually performed through an incision behind the ear, although other incisions may be used depending what we are correcting. We may use permanent or dissolving stitches again depending on your individual situation.
Do I have to stay in hospital?
Usually this is performed as a day stay procedure under general anaesthetic and takes about an hour and a half.
What happens after surgery?
For about a week after your surgery you will need to wear a fairly bulky bandage. Your stitches will be removed one week after treatment, and for the first few days post-surgery your ears may throb and ache.
You may notice some oozing following surgery and while this may be visible on the outside of the bandage it’s only a problem if it is persistent.
We recommend you avoid any activity which may bend the ears (like wearing glasses) for about a month. Adults should be able to return to work after a week, and children can also return to school after a week: although care should be taken to avoid trauma to the ears.
Are there any risks?
Every surgical procedure comes with a small risk of complication. And while the potential for risk is small there are some problems you should be aware of prior to treatment:
As with most surgeries there is some risk of post-operative bleeding, however this is an unusual risk which might require you to return to the operating theatre. Additionally, early trauma to the ear after bandages may cause bleeding and a small number of patients may develop a blood clot on their ear. If this does not resolve naturally (which happens in the majority of cases) it can be drawn out with a needle.
All surgical operations leave a scar. After Otoplasty the scar is usually unnoticeable, but if you have scarred poorly from previous surgery this may indicate that you form poor scars. Immature scars are often red and lumpy which is a reflection of the normal healing process. Maturation of a scar takes between 12 to 24 months depending on your age and skin type and during this time the scar will gradually settle. This process can be helped along by massaging the wound with a moisturising cream.
Rarely, patients develop an infection in the cartilage and this can cause scar tissue to form. Infection such as these can be treated with antibiotics. Rarely, surgery might be needed to drain the infected area.
- Swelling and bruising
When your bandages are first removed it is usual for there to be some swelling and bruising. In the initial you’ll also experience some numbness and abnormality which will normalise over the next few months.
For this procedure you will have a general anaesthetic. Prior to having the anaesthetic your anaesthetist will explain what you can expect when you wake up after general anaesthetic. If you have any questions regarding anaesthetic, the anaesthetist is the best person to ask.
Before and Afters
General information about Otoplasty
Five things to keep in mind about your surgery:
- The healing process continues for some time as your skin shrinks and adjusts.
- There’s no guarantee with surgery; the aim of surgery is improvement not perfection.
- Don’t expect both ears to be symmetrical—perfect symmetry is both unnatural and unlikely in ears.
- Irrespective of how skilled the surgeon, sometimes a secondary operation may be required.
- For three weeks before and after treatment don’t smoke or take aspirin to assist the healing process.