Otoplasty also known as cosmetic ear surgery is a procedure to change the shape, position or size of your ears. Otoplasty aims in most cases 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.
You may choose Othoplasty should you be concerned about ears that protrude or if you have misshapen ears due to an injury or a birth defect.
To find out more about this appearance enhancing surgery, and to get the ears you’ve always wished for, please book a consultation at our Dublin clinic.
What is otoplasty?
The shape of the human ear can vary enormously between different people and even between the left and right ears. A failure of normal cartilage development can cause misshapen or excessive prominence, often known as “stick out” ears. Otoplasty allows us to resolve this.
Otoplasty, also known as ear pinning, 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
- Reduction in large, stretched earlobes and improves split earlobes and lobes with large creases and wrinkles
- A means of treating Microtia (when only part of an ear was formed) or Cryptotia (the upper part of the ear is cupped downwards)
There are several other congenital deformities of the outer ear with which this surgery aims to improve, 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: The condition is identified by an extra fold of cartilage in the upper ear, producing a pointed ear appearance
Choose Beacon Face & Dermatology for your cosmetic surgery needs
When the ears protrude it can damage your confidence. Very often both adults and children suffer from low self esteem because of prominent ears. This simple surgical procedure can help to give you or your child the confidence boost needed. At Beacon Skin & Dermatology, Mr Kambiz Golchin specialises in otoplasty and can treat any defect, whether behind the ear, the inner ear or the middle ear.
Here’s how we can help you:
All of our prospective clients will be asked to attend an initial consultation with Mr Golchin, our consultant plastic surgeon, allowing you to see how we work and ask any questions. Otoplasty ear correction may not be suitable for everyone and for this reason a consultation is essential to understand what may be realistically expected from Otoplasty surgery.
In preparation for an Otoplasty ear correction procedure, you will be asked at the consultation to express your concerns about your appearance and discuss your goals and expectations.
Your initial consultation 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.
Defining the right ear shape and size for you
Various shape characteristics can cause the ears’ upper, middle or both parts to protrude excessively. The earlobes can also be prominent or relatively large, but everyone is different. We have to define the right course of action for you or your child, so we will advise based on:
- Shape:In some instances 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 possible and can be discussed during the initial assessment.
- Earlobe reduction: Earlobe reduction combined with reduced prominence is increasingly popular, which can sometimes create the impression of smaller ears.
It is important to note that every part between the two ears is slightly different in the tiniest detail. For that reason, the level of symmetry achieved between the right and left side ears can only be moderate, irrespective of the procedure and technique involved.
Having reviewed your concerns about your appearance, your goals & expectations with Mr Golchin, 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 & any necessary blood work & x-rays. Precise preoperative instructions are provided, and all necessary prescriptions are given to you before the surgery.
You will be provided with a complete list of medications to avoid, and smokers should quit at least six weeks before surgery.
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 breakdown.
Inserting clips under the skin of the ear – This is a relatively new technique. This type of ear cartilage shaping technique is minimally-invasive but does require a permanent metal clip to be placed under the skin.
The first one to two hours after surgery is spent in the recovery room. When fully alert, you can return home to the care of a friend or a family member.
The following morning, all bandages are removed. The surgical sites are inspected, a lighter dressing is applied, and further instructions are given The head dressing remains in place, day and night, for one week. Wearing loose-fitting collars is also advised for comfort.
Most patients describe the pain following otoplasty as mild to moderate. Pain medication is prescribed, although this is usually unnecessary after the first couple days.
There are usually no sutures to remove, or the stitches are dissolvable, apart from longer-term stitches, which create the ear’s new shape.
There may be mild bruising and swelling, lasting approximately 1-2 weeks. Most patients return to work and social activities after one week. Children usually return to school after 1-2 weeks, and everyday activities, such as swimming and contact sports, can resume after 12 weeks.
Otoplasty – what happens during a procedure?
Ear correction Otoplasty is usually 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 patients aims of the procedure. They include reshaping or reducing the cartilage or improving the relationship between the ear and head.
Depending on your desired result, Mr Golchin will be able to talk you through what to expect in your treatment.
Can children have surgery for ear defects?
We can perform Otoplasty correction surgery when the ears reach full size. This is typically at five years old, but some children can be treated as early as three.
Does the 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 the cartilage becoming infected, for which you may be given antibiotics after the procedure.
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 very small 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 a suitably trained surgeon carried out the original procedure is very low.
What will the recovery process involve?
DO – Sleep with your head raised on several pillows
- Sleeping on your side or stomach
- Putting pressure on your ears
- Rubbing your ears
- Bending over
- Heavy physical exercise for three weeks
- Swimming for several weeks
How long will it take to return to normal activities?
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 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 several weeks/months, and it may take some time before the wounds start turning pink / purple before fading into a white line.
There may be mild bruising and swelling, lasting 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.
Will there be scaring?
Sutures from ear surgery are inconspicuous. Mr Golchin has extensive experience performing these surgeries, so you won’t have to worry about noticeable scars.
How much does otoplasty cost?
The final cost of your Otoplasty will depend on the type and extent of the procedure agreed between yourself and your practitioner intended to address your personal concerns and realistic expectations, including:
- Local or general anaesthetic
- Primary or revision otoplasty
- One or both ears
- Complex corrections
It is essential to prioritise your choice of the right provider to perform your otoplasty procedure. Above all, you should be confident that you will be looked after before, during and after your procedure to the best of their professional ability.