Dr. Hart and Dr. Connors are Atlanta plastic surgeons specializing in ear surgery. Also known as otoplasty, this procedure surgically reshapes and repositions the ears so they fit better with the natural contour of the face. It is used to correct ears that are too large or protrude outward. Correction of an abnormally shaped ear can be achieved in children as young as 6. In addition, ear surgery also corrects and reconstructs a torn earlobe. This condition is caused when the earlobe splits in half due to wearing larger earrings or some other type of direct trauma. Ear surgery gives individuals the confidence to show their entire face from every angle without anxiety about their ears.
- Recovery Time: 1-2 Weeks
- Post-op Follow-up: 1-2 Days
- Procedure Recovery Location: Outpatient
The technique used during ear surgery will depend on the abnormality. First, there may be an insufficient amount of ear cartilage to support the fold of the ear, or too much cartilage where the ear canal starts. Both issues will cause the ear to protrude outward. In some cases, the ears may appear too large. Regardless of the condition, the cartilage will usually be addressed and either removed or reshaped. Then, the cartilage will be secured with sutures into a new position closer to the head. The incision is generally placed within the natural folds of the ear so scarring is not an issue.
In surgical cases where a torn earlobe is the concern, the repair is generally straightforward. The skin cleft between the two sides of the split is removed, and a new lobe is reconstructed using sutures that are placed in both the front and back of the ear. These stitches will remain intact for several weeks as the skin heals. The sutures are usually removed in several phases to ensure that the lobe is strong and aesthetically appealing.
Otoplasty cases are performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure in an accredited surgical facility whereas torn earlobe repair is performed in office under local anesthesia. The entire surgery typically takes about 2 hours to complete. After surgery, patients will be sent home with their heads wrapped in a compression bandage, which will later be replaced with lighter bandaging. Initially, patients will feel discomfort if they attempt to move their ears. This will subside in a few days. Younger patients will need to be monitored so they do not touch or play with their ears during the healing process.
Ear Surgery FAQs
The results following an otoplasty procedure are long lasting. However, just like any other cosmetic procedure, aging and gravity may cause increased laxity. This could eventually affect the position of the ears. For the most part, the improvements made with this surgery are still significant.
Children around the age of 12 are considered the youngest age for this surgery. From an anatomical standpoint, the cartilage is still soft and will be easier to remold and manipulate. From a psychological standpoint, having this surgery can help avoid teasing and ridicule from classmates.
Both Ears Or Just One?
In the majority of cases, both ears are affected. Therefore, surgery is performed on both ears. However, there may sometimes be an abnormality in just one ear. If this is the case, surgery will be performed on the affected ear, which will be made to match the opposing ear.