Otoplasty

Otoplasty – also known as cosmetic ear surgery – is a procedure to change the shape, position or size of the ears.

You might choose to have an otoplasty if you’re bothered by how far your ears stick out from your head. You might also consider otoplasty if your ear or ears are misshapen due to an injury or birth defect.

Otoplasty can be done at any age after the ears have reached their full size — usually after age 5 — through adulthood. In some cases, the surgery is done as early as age 3.

The shape of the ears may be corrected in a number of ways. Otoplasty, as mentioned above, aims to ‘pin back’ the ears closer to the side of the head. Other procedures include ear lobe reduction, correction of ear defects present at birth or those caused by injury.

Pre Op
Mr Golchin will initially ask you to express your concerns about your appearance and to discuss your goals & expectations. Your medical history will be reviewed and a physical examination will be conducted. The initial assessment is very important. You may be required to visit your GP for a check up & for any necessary blood work & x-rays. Precise preoperative instructions are provided, and all necessary prescriptions are given to you in advance of the surgery. You will be provided with a complete list of which medications to avoid.

Post Op
The first one to two hours after surgery is spent in the recovery room. When you are fully alert, you will be able to return home in the care of a friend or a family member.
The following morning, all bandages are removed. The surgical sites are inspected, a lighter bandage is placed and instructions are given. Mr Golchin leaves the head dressing on, both day and night for 1 week. A headband is then worn at night for at least a week.

Most patients describe the pain following otoplasty as mild to moderate. Pain medication is prescribed, although this is usually unnecessary after the first couple of days. Sleeping with your head elevated can reduce the discomfort.

There may be mild bruising and swelling which lasts for approximately 1-2 weeks. Most patients return to work and social activities after one week. Heavy physical exercise is avoided for three weeks following an otoplasty.

 

Otoplasty Ear Correction Surgery Ireland

“Improving confidence and self esteem in children, teens and adults”

Otoplasty, also known as pinnaplasty, ear correction surgery or cosmetic ear surgery, is:

  • An  earstitch, earfold or ear pinning procedure to change the shape, position or size of the ears.
  • Intended to make ears appear more attractive, e.g. by reducing their size and prominence or improving their shape.

Otoplasty cosmetic ear surgery can also reduce large, stretched earlobes and improve split earlobes, and lobes with large creases and wrinkles.

The shape of the human ear can vary enormously between different people, and even between the left and right ears.

However, a failure of normal cartilage development can cause misshapen or excessive prominence, popularly known as “stick out” ears.

Otoplasty ear correction is often viewed as significantly life enhancing if one or both ears are misshapen due to a birth defect, such as Microtia – only part of an ear was formed – or Cryptotia – upper part of the ear is cupped downwards.

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Around 4 per cent of babies are born with an outer ear deformity and a further 2 per cent will develop protruding ears in the first 6 months of life.

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Otoplasty ear pinning for children with protruding ears

A child with protruding ears is often stigmatised and can suffer peer group rejection. Growing teens can also struggle more than is normal with feelings of self-consciousness, which can often linger into adulthood.

An Otoplasty ear correction surgery would be carried out after the ears have reached their full size — usually after age 5 or in some cases, as early as age 3. Most procedures on children are carried out between the ages of six and 14.

  • Otoplasty Ear Pinning Correction – child referral

Otoplasty ear pinning or reshaping surgery can be performed by both plastic surgeons and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialists.

It is important to try to find a surgeon who will carefully assess and recommend the most appropriate form of Otoplasty ear correction for you or your child.

The surgeon should be able to carry out a traditional Otoplasty ear correction procedure as well as minimally-invasive ‘suture-based’ ear reshaping techniques.

  • Otoplasty – improving child confidence and self esteem

Outcomes in Otoplasty ear correction or cosmetic ear surgery are generally successful, because it:

  • Does not affect hearing
  • Allows a choice of hair style which no longer covers up the ears – and

Can have a profound effect in improving an individual’s confidence and self esteem at any age.

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885 – the number of Otoplasty ear correction procedures carried out in 2018, in the UK, according to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) Audit, 2019

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Preparing for Otoplasty

An Otoplasty cosmetic procedure is often carried out with the aim of pinning back the ears so they are closer to the side of the head or correcting ear defects present at birth. Other popular options can also include ear lobe reduction or treating an outer ear injury.

Otoplasty ear correction may not be suitable for everyone. It is therefore important to arrange a consultation to understand what may be realistically expected from Otoplasty surgery.

In preparation for an Otoplasty ear correction procedure you will be asked at the start of the consultation to express your concerns about your appearance and to discuss your goals and expectations.

Otoplasty assessment – goals and expectations

The primary goal of otoplasty and prominent ear correction surgery is to reduce excessive prominence and provide a normal, pleasing alignment when the ear is viewed from the side.

Your assessment will evaluate, in detail, the shape and size of your ears, and the particular factors causing prominence and asymmetry. A specific surgical plan to reshape / reposition the ear is carefully designed to achieve a more natural appearance.

Ear shape

Various shape characteristics can cause the upper, middle or both parts of the ears to protrude excessively. The earlobes can also be prominent or relatively large.

In certain cases, where the shape of the ears are incompletely formed a more complex contouring of the cartilages could be proposed. In other instances, an appropriate adjustment of projecting ears may be sufficient.

 

Ear size

  • Size reduction combined with reduced prominence is also possible, and can be discussed during the initial assessment.

 

Earlobe reduction

  • Earlobe reduction combined with reduced prominence is increasingly popular, which together, can sometimes create the impression of smaller ears.

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Every part between each of the two ears is slightly different in the tiniest detail.

The level of symmetry achieved between the right and left side ears can only be moderate, irrespective of the procedure and technique involved.

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Medical history and physical assessment

An important and essential initial assessment will review your medical history, and a physical examination will be carried out.

Your health is extremely important and any cosmetic ear correction surgery should be postponed if you are unwell for any reason. Informing the ear correction surgery if there are changes to your health is essential.

You may be required to visit your GP for a check up, and for any necessary blood tests and X-ray scans.

You will also be provided with:

  • Precise preoperative instructions
  • All necessary prescriptions in advance of the surgery
  • A complete list of medications to avoid, including aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements. 

Ideally, cigarette smoking should stop 6 weeks prior to surgery.

 

Otoplasty – what actually happens during a procedure?

Ear correction Otoplasty is normally carried out under local anaesthetic, and the entire procedure takes up to two hours. 

There are several techniques for reshaping the ears, depending on the aims of the procedure. Typical actions include:

  • Modifying flexibility, reducing or reshaping of the cartilage under the skin.
  • Adjustment of the relationship between the ear and the head.

 

The two main techniques for reshaping prominent ears caused by cartilage problems are ‘Suture’ or ‘Scoring’.

Suture technique – is generally safer, long-lasting and provides a more naturally contoured appearance.

Cartilage ‘scoring’ – can have a slightly higher risk of cartilage break-down.

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Inserting clips under the skin of the ear – is a relatively new technique not so well-established as the cartilage suture and scoring procedures. This type of ear cartilage shaping technique is minimally-invasive but does require a permanent metal clip to be placed under the skin.

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The procedure is normally carried out inconspicuously in the skin in the groove behind the ears. A small incision of around 4-5 cm is made where any remaining surface scarring will be less visible. Occasionally, discreet incisions are made on the front surface of the ear within the normal contours or creases.

Once completed, the ear is positioned into place using scoring and stitching techniques.

Does Otoplasty ear correction procedure involve any risks?

Otoplasty ear reshaping is a low-risk procedure with only the likelihood of some mild bleeding. There is a very rare risk of blood collecting under the skin which can get infected. Careful control of any bleeding during surgery and ensuring that the head bandage is worn as advised after the procedure will reduce the risk.

Another extremely low risk possibility is of the cartilage becoming infected, for which you may be given antibiotics after the procedure. If you develop pain, a high fever or discharge from the wound, your ear correction surgery should be contacted immediately.

How long does Otoplasty cosmetic ear correction last?

The results of Otoplasty cosmetic ear correction are long-term. The stitches used in the Suture technique of Otoplasty are permanent. There is a tiny chance that the sutures can open, either over time or through trauma to the ear, but this is very unusual. The rate of corrective surgery needed for Otoplasty where the original procedure was carried out by a suitably trained surgeon is very low. 

Post Otoplasty procedure – what happens next?

You are allowed to return home on the same day. Immediately after surgery, the first one to two hours are spent in the recovery room.

When you are fully alert, you will be able to return home in the care of a friend or a family member. You will not be able to drive home after surgery.

The following morning all bandages are removed, surgical sites are inspected, a lighter bandage is applied and further instructions are given.

The head dressing remains in place, both day and night for 1 week, and wearing loose-fitting collars is also advised for comfort.

There are usually no sutures to remove, or the stitches are dissolvable, apart from longer term stitches which create the new shape of the ear.

You should also avoid swimming and other sports for several weeks.

Children can usually return to school after 1-2 weeks, and normal activities, such as swimming and contact sports can resume after 12 weeks.

To help with recovery from Otoplasty…

DO – Sleep with your head raised on several pillows

AVOID –

  • Sleeping on your side or stomach
  • Putting pressure on your ears
  • Rubbing your ears
  • Bending over 

Following Otoplasty – most patients return to normal activities after one week

Most patients usually describe any feelings of pain following an Otoplasty procedure as mild to moderate. Pain medication is prescribed, although this is usually unnecessary after the first couple of days. Sleeping with your head elevated can help reduce the discomfort.

Following corrective ear surgery, it is normal for Otoplasty scars to be red for a number of weeks / months, and it may take some time before the scars start turning pink /  purple before fading into a white line.

There may be mild bruising and swelling which lasts for approximately 1-2 weeks. Most patients return to work and social activities after one week but are advised that heavy physical exercise is avoided for three weeks following Otoplasty ear surgery.

Microtia – common ear deformity explained

Microtia – Latin word for ‘little ear’. Refers to the external part of an ear (or both ears) which under develops during the first three months of pregnancy, and is known to affect around 1 in 6,000 babies.

More commonly a condition of just one ear (often the right ear), and affecting boys more than girls. However, around one in ten children have the condition in both ears.

Microtia is often linked to problems with the ear canal/middle ear which causes hearing problems – a condition known as Atresia. Despite issues with the outer and middle ear, the inner ear is generally unaffected, so children with Microtia can have their hearing partially restored.

 

While Microtia may often be hardly noticeable, some children develop no ears at all – a condition known as Anotia.

 There are also a number of other congenital deformities of the outer ear, including:

 

  • Protruding or “prominent ear” – a normal-looking ear that sticks out from the head at an angle greater than 40 degrees.
  • Constricted ear or “cup ear” – the top rim of the ear, known as the helical rim, is abnormally tight.
  • Cryptotia – or “hidden ear” – the upper portion of the ear is buried underneath a fold of scalp skin on the side of the head.
  • Stahl’s ear –  identified by an extra fold of cartilage in the upper ear, which produces a pointed ear appearance.  

Otoplasty Ear Correction Pricing

The final cost of your Otoplasty will depend on the type and extent of the agreed best procedure intended to address your concerns and realistic expectations, including:

  • Local or general anaesthetic
  • Primary or revision otoplasty
  • One or both ears
  • Complex corrections 

It is important to prioritise your choice of the right provider to perform your otoplasty procedure. Above all, you should have every confidence that you will be looked after before, during and after your procedure to the best of their professional ability.

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