Kids can say the darnedest things, or so goes the old adage. Well, when a child’s ears protrude, kids can say the unkindest things. And that kind of teasing can really impact a child’s self-confidence at a crucial time in development.
But this doesn’t need to happen. At Dominion Plastic Surgery, we perform ototplasty, ear reshaping surgery, to bring the ears closer to the head, or to reduce the size or change the shape of the ears.
candidates for otoplasty
At Dominion Plastic Surgery, we perform ear reshaping surgery on both children and adults. The main reason a person (or parent) seeks otoplasty is to bring protruding ears back closer to the head. But Dr. Mehan and Dr. Johnson also address conditions such as “lop ear,” “cupped ear,” and “shell ear.” They correct earlobes that have been stretched by heavy earrings or with gauges. They repair torn earlobes.
At what age can my child have ear pinning surgery?
The only requirement for this surgery is that the ears are fully grown. Believe it or not, human ears are usually finished growing at age four. This is a good time to have otoplasty done because the surgery can be completed before the child begins school, where teasing could be a problem if the ear protrusion isn’t addressed.
How is otoplasty performed?
For ear pinning with younger patients, we usually opt for general anesthesia to alleviate nervousness. For adults, local anesthesia is sufficient in most cases.
The procedure begins with a small incision behind the ear. This is made in the crease where the ear meets the head. The ear cartilage is then sculpted, shaped, or bent into a new position so that the ear is brought closer to he head. If only one ear is protruding, Dr. Mehan or Johnson still may adjust the other ear to achieve symmetry between the two ears. Ear pinning usually only takes around one hour.
If the patient has other ear surgery needs, such as earlobe repair or more serous ear reshaping, different methods will be employed. These options will be discussed during your consultation.
What type of results can I expect?
Patients don’t see their results immediately after these procedures because their head is bandaged. These wrappings are replaced quickly with surgical dressing that will stay in place for the rest of the first week after surgery. When those dressings are removed, you’ll see your results. There will be some residual swelling, but you can see the dramatic difference.
Will there be visible scarring after otoplasty?
We make the incision behind the ear, so it is virtually invisible.
How soon can I return to work or my child to school?
Children can usually return to school after about one week. Adults may not need that much recovery time. This varies with the patient.