As an experienced and compassionate plastic surgeon, Dr. Bunkis of Orange County Plastic Surgery understands that protruding or large ears can be an embarrassing feature for adults and children. However, this and other ear issues can be corrected with otoplasty, a type of cosmetic ear surgery for adults and children. It is an ear correction procedure designed to remove or reshape the cartilage that makes up your ears.
What is Otoplasty?
Otoplasty, by definition, is ear surgery that is used in a variety of situations, such as ear pinning to correct significant protrusion of the ears, known as prominauris. Another defect in ear structure that is commonly corrected with otoplasty is overly large ears that is addressed with ear reshaping.
Ear surgery can even improve the appearance of the ears in case they have become misshapen from trauma and injury. Otoplasty is available to people of age at least 5 who are dissatisfied with the shape, dimension, or position of their ears.
Who Is A Good Candidate For Otoplasty?
Adults and children may be candidates for otoplasty if:
- Have prominent, protruding, misaligned, misshapen, or disproportionate ears
- Are at least 5 or 6 to correct ear abnormalities
- Have anxiety about the shape and size of their ears or earlobes
Best Age To Do Otoplasty
The primary consideration for otoplasty is the stage of development of the ears. In adults, this is not a concern because the cartilage is already fully developed. For children, though, Dr. Bunkis carefully considers the growth stage of the cartilage. Typically, ear cartilage is completely formed by age five or six, but some children have fully-formed cartilage before or after this age. Therefore, the best age to do otoplasty varies. A consultation with the surgeon is the best place to start to determine if your child is at a good otoplasty and ear pinning surgery age.
Can You Get Ear Surgery?
If you would like to learn more about a new surgery for prominent ears or protruding ears, contact Orange County Plastic Surgery to schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Bunkis. He will recommend the best age and protruding ears solution based on your individual needs.
What To Expect From Otoplasty Surgery
Otoplasty surgery is an outpatient procedure that normally requires only intravenous sedation with local anesthesia. For ear size reduction and ear pinning, small incisions are made around the ears to allow access to the cartilage. For plastic surgery to make ears smaller or closer to the head, cartilage is manipulated, shaped, and removed to change the size and position of the ear. This improves the proportion of the ear with the other facial features.
Sometimes, excessive skin from the ear can be removed as well. Ear surgery is used to produce natural-looking results. The extent of the surgery depends on the method and the patient’s ears.
What Is Earlobe Repair?
Earlobe repair is a cosmetic procedure that Dr. Bunkis performs to repair and reshape the earlobes. Trauma to the earlobes can happen as a result of sports, accidents, and other circumstances. Lifestyle choices that damage the earlobes include wearing heavy jewelry or plugs that stretch the earlobes.
Earlobes are comprised on soft tissue, so they stretch and tear easily. The surgeon repairs the damage with a quick procedure that is performed in our office. A local anesthesia is used to numb the earlobe. Any excess tissue is trimmed. Stretched earlobes can be repaired by removing a small amount of skin along the inside edge of the injury and suturing the two sides of the earlobe together.
The otoplasty surgery procedure can take up to two hours. Earlobe reduction/earlobe repair, another type of cosmetic ear surgery, may take less than one hour.
How long otoplasty results take varies, but most patients are able to fully enjoy the new ear contour in about six weeks. This is how long it takes for the cartilage to heal, as well as for swelling to subside. Results are long-standing and should provide years of positive benefits for patients.
You will have an ear bandage after surgery. This holds the cartilage and soft tissues in place and prevents against infection. Children have the ear cover after surgery for approximately five days, and adults have the bandage ear protector after surgery for approximately two days. The reason that children wear an ear cover after surgery longer than adults is that they are much more active.
Otoplasty recovery is a day-by-day process, and you will need to be patient. This may be easier for adults than children. There’s little pain or discomfort during otoplasty recovery, but you should expect some tenderness and swelling. It’s crucial that pediatric patients not touch or bother their ears while they are healing. The recovery time for ear surgery varies, and children tend to heal faster than adults.
Before you are released to go home on the day of your surgery, we provide detailed aftercare instructions, such as how to sleep after otoplasty, tips for otoplasty recovery, and more.
Otoplasty scars are minimal. You will have a scar behind the ear that first heals as a slightly pink color. Over the next 12 months, the scar gradually changes to a color that is slightly darker than your natural skin tone.
Cosmetic ear surgery is an elective procedure, so it is not covered by medical insurance. We can your otoplasty cost, as well as our financing options, during the consultation with Dr. Bunkis.
Post Operational Instructions
After undergoing plastic surgery, following the postoperative instructions provided by your surgeon is crucial for optimal healing and recovery. These instructions may include caring for the surgical site, managing pain, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It is important to keep the surgical area clean, take prescribed medications as directed, rest and avoid strenuous activities, and adhere to a balanced diet while staying hydrated.
Attending follow-up appointments will allow your surgeon to monitor your progress and provide further guidance, ensuring a successful outcome from your plastic surgery procedure.