Otoplasty is also known as: Ear Surgery, Prominent Ear Surgery and Bat Ear Surgery.

Otoplasty Overview

Otoplasty is the medical term for correction of prominent ears but also includes less common deformities of the ear such as cup ear. It involves the pinning back and reshaping of ear cartilage. Patients often present in early childhood, brought along by concerned parents when they begin to be teased at school. However, many patients don’t present till their teen or adult years and have often harboured a dislike of their appearance, maintaining their hairstyle to disguise their ears.

What age should otoplasty be performed?

Otoplasty is best performed when the child is old enough to understand the procedure and why it’s being done. This is often not till 7 or 8 years. Otoplasty surgery does not interfere with the growth of the ear. Adult patients have less pliable cartilage than children but they can still obtain a favourable result.

The surgery

The operation is usually performed under general anaesthetic as a day case procedure. With older cooperative patients it can be done under local anaesthetic. The ear is incised from behind and the cartilage is displayed and it’s shape altered by scoring and suturing. The other ear is then matched. A head bandage is applied following the procedure.

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What to expect after surgery

Nausea and discomfort are not uncommon symptoms for the first 24 hours. The head bandage stays in place for 1 week and is then taken down in the office. The ears will still be swollen and discoloured at this stage. It will be at least 2 -3 weeks before they completely settle. The sutures behind the ear are dissolvable and will fall out by themselves.

What are the risks?

Adverse events are few. Bleeding can be a problem in the early postoperative period. An unsatisfactory or unbalanced correction is uncommon and may necessitate repeat surgery.

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