Ear surgery, otoplasty, is a surgical operation to restore or enhance the appearance of an ear or the ears. You might consider having an ear surgery if your ear or ears are misshapen due to an injury or birth defect or if you're bothered by how far your ears stick out from your head. If a child is born with prominent ears or other ear-shape problems, splinting may successfully correct these issues if started immediately after birth.
Why and to Whom Ear Surgery is Performed?
Although there are experts who recommend waiting to be over the age of 18 for the operation, no problems have been encountered in people aged 5-6 years. Ear surgery can be done at any age after the ears have reached their full size, usually after the age of 5, through adulthood. In some cases the surgery can be performed early like at the age of 3. Patients who are not satisfied with their ear appearances or had an injury that caused misshapen ear appearance can go under surgery.
Risks and Complications
Just like in any other type of major surgery, ear surgery poses a risk of infection, bleeding and an adverse reaction to anesthesia. It is also possible to have an allergic reaction to the surgical tape or other materials used during or after the operation. Scars after the surgery are permanent but they will likely be hidden behind your ears or within the creases of your ears. Asymmetry in ear placement can be seen after the surgery, this could occur as a result of changes during the healing process and surgery might not successfully correct pre-existing asymmetry. Changes in skin sensation can happen after the surgery. Even though changes are rarely permanent, during otoplasty the repositioning of your ears can temporarily affect skin sensation in the area.
Pre-consultation Before Ear Surgery
Please inform your doctor about medications you're taking or you've taken recently, as well as any surgeries you've had. To decide your treatment options, the doctor will examine your ears, including their placement, shape, size and symmetry. Explain your expectations, why you want ear surgery and what are your hopes from the surgery. Make sure you understand the risks, such as possible overcorrection. Before the surgery avoid using aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, which can increase bleeding and infections. Before and after the surgery you should also stop smoking and using alcohol as they have bad impact on the healing process.
After Ear Surgery
After the surgery, for protection and support, your ears will be covered in bandages. You can feel itching and discomfort after the surgery if they become extreme contact to your doctor immediately. Take pain medication as recommended by your doctor. Avoid sleeping on your side to keep pressure off of your ears. Also try not to rub or apply excessive force on the incisions. Consider wearing shirts with loose-fitting collars or button-down shirts. After bandages removed you will need to wear a loose headband at night for 2 to 6 weeks. Ask your doctor when you can resume your daily activities, such as bathing and physical activity.