Otoplasty – Ear Tuck
Andy Courson, M.D. of the Houston Center for Facial Plastic Surgery- Kingwood provides corrective ear surgery, medically known as otoplasty surgery. An otoplasty is a form of facial plastic surgery that involves the surgical reshaping, re-proportioning, or repositioning of a patient’s ear. The procedure can be done for cosmetic or reconstructive reasons, and those with protruding or disfigured ears can benefit greatly from treatment. For those born with prominent ears, the emotional/behavioral effects can be profound. Take a few moments to learn more about the otoplasty procedure.
Factors Causing Ear Protrusion
Multiple things can cause a patient’s ears to protrude, such as cartilage over- or under-development, lack of cartilage fold development, or injury. Otoplasty, or ear surgery, can correct these discrepancies and help restore a patient’s self-confidence. Otoplasty is most commonly performed around age 5-7, at the beginning of school age. This can help with promoting self-esteem, and preventing “bullying” issues that may occur with prominent ears. While these are some of the youngest ages that otoplasty is performed, it can be performed with the same techniques at any age.
What is the Surgery Like?
The ear surgery procedure can be done under general or local anesthesia, depending on the doctor’s recommendation. Incisions are typically made on the ear’s back surface, where Dr. Courson will reshape the cartilage. If a patient has protruding ears, they will be pinned back after excess cartilage, and sometimes skin, is removed. For a reduction in size, cuts are made in the ear folds to reduce visible scarring, and tissue is removed from these areas.
The Post-Surgical Recovery Process
The patient will have to wear bandages on the ears for a few days after surgery, and they should not shampoo their hair during this period. After bandages are removed, the patient may need to wear a headband around the area for about six weeks at night. Within about a week, a patient can resume normal activity, and they can resume exercise in about 10-14 days. Detailed instructions are given to each patient before the surgery begins.
Complications and Side Effects
While this is a relatively safe procedure for most patients, as with any surgical process, there are certain risks to consider. Dangers include infection, bleeding, under- or over-correction, or an unnatural shape. Generally, these risks are quite low, and can be easily addressed should they occur.