Ear surgery, also known as otoplasty, is a procedure used to alter the shape, size or position of the ear. This procedure is one of the few cosmetic procedures that is commonly performed on children and teens, as well as adult patients. Otoplasty may be recommended for children as young as five, if ear growth and development is completed. Children with extraordinarily large or protruding ears tend to be the subject of much teasing in school, so surgery may be recommended at a younger age to prevent teasing and bullying and protect a child’s self-esteem.
Who is it For?
Patients who are good candidates for ear surgery are those from age five that are in reasonably good health and want to alter the appearance of their ears. San Diego patients should be in relatively good health and have realistic expectations about the outcome of their surgery. Concerns addressed by ear surgery include:
- Overly large ears that do not balance other facial features
- Ears that protrude or stick out from the side of the head
- Ears that are not the same size or shape
- Birth defects or injuries that have affected the appearance of the ears
In most cases, otoplasty is performed as a single procedure. However, adult ear surgery may be combined with other procedures, such as chin or cheek implants, rhinoplasty or skin rejuvenation treatments.
About the Procedure
Dr. Kaweski performs ear surgery at Aesthetic Arts Institute of Plastic Surgery as an outpatient procedure. While local anesthesia is usually used for adult patients, children are more likely to be given general anesthesia for the procedure. Depending on the specific concerns to be addressed, Dr. Kaweski will likely make incisions behind the ear, where they will not be visible afterward. When incisions are required in front of the ear, they are generally made in the natural folds and creases of the skin. Once the incision is made, Dr. Kaweski removes excess cartilage and skin and reshapes remaining cartilage if necessary. The ear is sutured into its new position, ensuring the position will remain consistent as the ear heals. Those sutures may be internal and permanent, to keep the ear in proper position.
After the Procedure
San Diego patients will go home with a dressing around their ears to protect the incisions during the healing process. Any discomfort after the procedure can be managed with oral pain medication. Some bruising and swelling is normal and will subside within 1-2 weeks. Most patients return to work, school and other regular activities within one week.
What about Results?
Results of ear surgery are evident right after the procedure, although dressings may hide the results for a few days. Full results can usually be seen once the ear heals completely, which takes a minimum of two weeks. Ear surgery is considered a permanent solution to misshapen ears, which means it only requires one surgery throughout the patient’s lifetime.
Ear surgery can make a big difference in the self-esteem and confidence of both child and adult patients. To learn more about options in otoplasty, call Aesthetic Arts Institute of Plastic Surgery in the San Diego area at (619) 464-9876 to get your questions answered or schedule a consultation with Dr. Kaweski.