Ear surgery, medically known as otoplasty, is a surgical procedure for changing the shape, size, or position of the ears. It is most commonly used to reduce the appearance of prominent ears. Although the ears are not considered to be a central part of the face, their appearance can lead to dissatisfaction and a loss of self-esteem when these parts of the body are perceived as being unattractive.
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Those desiring to undergo otoplasty surgery typically feel that their ears protrude more than they would like. Ear pinning surgery places the ears into a more harmonious and balanced position with the rest of the face and head.
An otoplasty will not affect your hearing ability or change where your ears are located. Otoplasties are typically performed on both ears to create facial symmetry. You may benefit from an otoplasty procedure if:
- Enhanced confidence and self-esteem
- Ability to wear one’s hair as desired
- Relatively safe procedure involving little risk
- Your ears are overly large in comparison to your head.
- One or both of your ears protrude too far out from your head.
- You are unhappy with the results of a previous otoplasty surgery.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, cosmetic ear surgery is performed at an average cost of $3,736. This does not include any required operating room facilities, anesthesia or related expenses.
The exact amount that an otoplasty will cost you depends upon various factors, such as geographic location, your individual plastic surgeon, and more. You will take part in a consultation with your surgeon who will inform you of the exact cost of your procedure.
In most cases, an otoplasty procedure is performed by a specialist plastic surgeon. The surgery usually requires general anesthesia and takes between one and two hours. The type of surgical technique used by your surgeon is based upon the specific requirements of your individual case.
Otoplasty procedures are normally performed with an incision on the back of the ear, allowing access to the cartilage. Your surgeon will manipulate the cartilage to weaken it. They may remove excised sections in pieces, or stitch it into a new and improved shape. They then close the incision using self-dissolving stitches.
Otoplasty procedures normally end with the placement of a large dressing around the altered ear, or ears. This helps to lower the risk of bleeding, as well as retain the shape of the surgically altered ear. The padding also makes it more comfortable for the patient.
If you are experiencing discomfort due to swelling, it can usually be controlled using oral pain medication. Your bruising and swelling should subside within a few weeks.
After your otoplasty surgery, the first thing on your mind will likely be wondering how long it will take to recover and see the final results of your procedure. Here is what to expect:
Most patients need about six weeks to completely recover from ear surgery, but you should begin noticing significant improvement in around two weeks.
First 24 Hours
Expect your ears to be swollen and to experience some degree of pain and discomfort. You’ll probably need to wear a compression garment for a while. Your surgeon will have prescribed pain relievers and antibiotics for you. Use them as directed.
To reduce swelling, keep your head elevated with several pillows when you lie down or sleep in bed. You want your head to be at a higher level than your head. Avoid sleeping on your sides to keep from damaging your ears.
You should be wearing your recovery garment all day for a few days after your otoplasty procedure. The worst of your pain and swelling should subside within two or three days.
You should be able to return to work or school, and more of your swelling should have gone down. Keep wearing your compression garment, for now, to protect your ears. You should also keep sleeping on your back at this time until about six weeks have passed.
Happily, most of your swelling should have subsided by now. Keep up with any required follow-up appointments with your plastic surgeon so that they can monitor your recovery and progress.
Your ears should be 100% healed by now, although results will vary from individual to individual.