Sometimes, children are born with underdeveloped or malformed ears. Teens and adults can suffer from disfigured ears through injury. An ear reshaping technique known as an Otoplasty is a straightforward procedure performed using either local or general anesthesia. For small children, it is usually performed under general anesthesia. Otoplasties are generally performed in conditions where the ear is severely misshapen or protruding lobes interfere with daily function. Very often, however, the ear is simply reshaped to maintain structural integrity or to promote aesthetic symmetry.
Otoplasty is one of the few cosmetic surgeries commonly performed on children and can be started on kids as young as five or six. Reshaping the ear is generally a very safe and relatively simple surgery for a plastic surgeon to perform. A pinning procedure is performed on ears that drastically protrude away from the head. Incisions for ear pinning or reshaping usually are made behind the ear in order make them as inconspicuous as possible. The reshaping procedure itself is a manipulation of the outer ear cartilage and can be performed in either a clinical office setting or a hospital surgical unit. Small incisions also help to speed recovery and mitigate pain, especially in younger patients. As an Otoplasty is a relatively minor surgery, healing time is fast— generally seven to ten days with reduced activity lasting about two weeks.
Good candidates for an Otoplasty are healthy children five years or older with enough developed cartilage for reshaping. Teen candidates should generally be healthy, well-adjusted individuals who have realistic expectations of the outcomes. Ear molding and taping may be possible in the infant stages, but should be done with great care and under pediatric supervision. Plastic surgeons who are expert at ear pinning and reshaping are well-versed in counseling teens and young adults about what to expect from their procedures. In addition, an appropriate course of treatment and care will be discussed during the initial consultation with Otoplasty candidates.
Ears are a noticeable part of a person’s appearance. People with disfigured or protruding ears can take advantage of relatively minor surgical procedure to restore ears to their natural look.