How is otoplasty performed?
Anesthesia for otoplasty depends on the age of the patient amongst other factors. Your surgeon will discuss what type of anesthesia is best for you or your child. In general, otoplasty may be performed under mild sedation with local anesthesia in a procedure room or operating room. Incisions for most otoplasty procedures are made behind the ear and/or in natural skin folds where scars can easily be hidden. Ear cartilage is contoured and secured in proper position with internal suture placement to “pin back” the ear(s) and re-create normal ear curvatures as needed. Internal sutures are permanent and do not need to be removed, whereas external sutures are placed behind the ear to close the incisions and require removal after 1 week. The procedure usually takes approximately 45 to 60 minutes per ear. At the end of the procedure, a head dressing is applied overnight. Patients are able to go home the same day.
The day after surgery, the head dressing is removed and wound care instructions are reviewed. Incisions are cleaned and antibiotic ointment is applied several times a day until the sutures are removed after 1 week. Bruising and swelling are usually minimal even though some soreness is common. A headband should be worn for the first week and then at night only for another 3-4 weeks to protect the ears and avoid any pulling on the internal sutures. This helps keep the ears in proper position. Results are obvious as soon as the bandaging is removed. Normal, non-contact activities may be resumed after approximately 2 weeks.
Otoplasty can be very helpful for a child or adolescent as well as an adult with protruding or misshapen ears. If you would like to speak with a surgeon to determine if this procedure will benefit you or your child please give us a call and schedule a consultation.