Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)
Patients or parents of children with prominent ears will often seek this procedure as a way to alleviate teasing or ridicule by seeking a more “normal” acceptable appearance.
Ear surgery, or otoplasty, is usually done to set prominent ears back closer to the head or to reduce the size of large ears. Because ears are almost fully grown by age four, the earlier the surgery, the less teasing and ridicule a child will have to endure. Ear surgery on adults is also possible, and there are generally no additional risks associated with ear surgery on an older patient.
It is recommended that parents be sensitive to their child’s feelings about protruding ears, and wait until the child wants the change before pursuing this treatment. Children who feel self-conscious about their ears and want this change are generally more cooperative during the process and happier with the outcome.
In the initial meeting, your surgeon will evaluate your (or your child’s) condition, and recommend the most effective technique. Ear surgery can be performed as an outpatient procedure either under local or general anesthesia. The technique used will depend on the particular problem that is individual to each patient.
Besides protruding ears, there are a variety of other ear problems that can be helped with surgery. These include: “lop ear,” when the tip seems to fold down and forward; “cupped ear,” which is usually a very small ear; and “shell ear,” when the curve in the outer rim, as well as the natural folds and creases, are missing. Surgery can also improve large or stretched earlobes, or lobes with large creases and wrinkles.
If you are considering ear surgery, keep in mind, the goal is improvement, not perfection. Don’t expect both ears to match perfectly. Perfect symmetry is both unlikely and unnatural in ears. Having a positive and realistic outlook about the results of this procedure will ensure a most satisfactory experience. Most patients, young and old alike, are thrilled with the results of ear surgery!