Sometimes referred to as “ear pinning”, otoplasty is a surgery to address overly prominent ears in both children and adults.
While everyone’s aesthetics, including their ears, are different, in some cases either one or both ears can seem to protrude too much, or seem too large or misshapen. As the ears are a prominent feature, this can be a source of teasing, particularly in young children. Through otoplasty, it is possible to address these issues, providing a dramatic and highly satisfying result for the patient.
Otoplasty involves making an incision behind the ear in order to gain access to the cartilage. The cartilage is then both reshaped and recontoured, with the ear being suspended in a more aesthetically pleasing position.
How long does it take to recover from otoplasty?
The procedure is usually performed under general anaesthetic as a day surgery. Children are generally more comfortable staying a night in hospital, but can go home on the same day if they like.
After your surgery has been completed, a bulky bandage will be placed over the ears; this will be worn to protect them for about the next five to 10 days. Patients can usually return to work or school about five days after their procedure, though some prefer to wait until the bandage has been removed. After this period, the patient is encouraged to wear a tennis headband to bed for another two weeks to protect the newly reshaped cartilage.
About four weeks after the procedure, the new contour and shape of the ears should be apparent, though it should be noted that full healing could take as long as a year. Patients should be able to return to contact sports and any other activities which could result in the ears being bent about four weeks after the procedure.
What are the potential risks and complications of otoplasty?
Ear surgery, as with all modern surgeries, is generally safe, but there is a potential for complications and risks. Before your surgery I will discuss all of the potential risks with you, including:
- Allergic or hypersensitive reaction to the antiseptic, dressings or medications
- Immediately following your surgery, you may experience short-term nausea and vomiting due to the anaesthesia
- If you are a smoker or have diabetes, you may experience slow healing
- You may have a sore throat as a result of the breathing tube that will be used during the general anaesthesic
- Bruising, swelling and pain may occur around the incision site
- An infection may arise that requires an antibiotic treatment and in some cases, additional surgery may be necessary
- You may develop keloid or hypertrophic scars which are raised and thickened scars. This type of scarring may be unsightly, annoying and itchy, however, they are not threatening to your health and rare if you have no family history of the condition
- A large blood clot that requires drainage may form under the site of the incision; if this occurs it the clot will need to be evacuated in the operating theatre immediately
- Ears may become asymmetrical and require additional surgery to repair cartilage irregularities or to correct problems with symmetry
- One or both ears may have re-protrusion, which may require additional surgery
- Ear cartilage has a small overlaying area of skin which may die and result in an ulcer forming. The ulcer may require several weeks for healing.
- There may be a permanent or temporary loss of sensation in the skin area of the incision site and/or the back of the ear surface
How much does otoplasty cost?
Corrective surgery to the ear is a reconstructive procedure and may be covered by your private health insurance. You will need to review your policy carefully to determine what is covered.
Costs associated with a corrective ear surgery vary between $5000-$9000 depending on a number of factors such as:
- Anaesthetist’s fee
- Private hospital or day surgical facility fees
- Your level of private insurance cover
- Surgical assistant’s fee
After our consultation my staff will give you an itemised account of the total cost.