Ear surgery for children or adults can set prominent ears back closer to the head and reduce the size of large ears. Surgery may also be helpful for "lop ear," "cupped ear, " and "shell ear," large or stretched earlobes, and lobes with creases and wrinkles. Corrective surgery, called otoplasty, should be considered on ears that stick out more than 4/5 of an inch (2 cm) from the back of the head or ears that have been misshapen or torn by trauma. It can be performed at any age after the ears have reached full size, usually by age 6. Having the surgery at a young age has distinct benefits: the cartilage is more pliable, making it easier to reshape, and the child will experience the psychological benefits of the cosmetic improvement. Dr. Dana Khuthaila, a New York City plastic surgeon, performs ear surgery to correct protrusion, reshape, reduce size, or make the ears more symmetrical.
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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.
All otoplasties are performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure in an accredited surgical facility. 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.
Plan Your Procedure
- Recovery Time
- 2-3 Weeks
- Average Procedure Time
- 2-3 Hours
- Post-op Follow-up
- Procedure Recovery Location
Ear Surgery FAQs@headingTag>
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 between the ages of 4-6 are considered within the ideal range 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 before starting elementary school can help avoid teasing and ridicule from classmates.
Both Ear or Just One?@headingTag>
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.