Otoplasty or Pinnaplasty is ear correction surgery which reshapes protruding ears. It is popular amongst young children and teenagers with protruding ears but can also be performed on adults.
Protruding ears are set back closer to the head and are no longer so prominent. For many patients, particularly young patients, the benefits of the surgery are mostly psychological, giving them more confidence in their appearance.
Otoplasty will cost between £1,000.00 and £2,500.00 in the U.K. This will include a pre-operative consultation.
The benefits of this surgery are purely cosmetic but the positive effects on confidence and self esteem are immeasurable for most people. Protruding ears are corrected and the size and angle adjusted to suit the patient. You can see examples of before and after pictures here.
Otoplasty can be carried out under general anaesthetic, which is recommended for children, or local anaesthetic. Incisions are usually made behind the ear, although sometimes in front and the cartilage is remodelled and/or removed. Absorbable sutures are usually used to close the wound so there are no stitches to remove but sometimes non dissolving stitches are required to stop the cartilage from springing out again. Surgery lasts about two hours and a head dressing which keeps the ears in place must be worn for at least two weeks. You need to be careful with your ears and ensure they don’t bend for a month.
Surgery always carries risks so make sure you consult a reputable surgeon. One of the best to consult in the UK is cosmeticsurgery.co.uk.
Otoplasty or ear correction as it is more commonly called is the surgical procedure to correct protruding ears.
What is the process?
During surgery skin and cartilage is removed from behind the ears. This is then sculpted to bend the ears back towards the head. Stitches may be used to maintain this new shape. Any incision marks are concealed in the natural crease behind the ear. An alternative process, which avoids removing cartilage, uses stitches to fold exposed cartilage back on to itself to reshape the ear, with stitches being concealed in the natural crease behind the ear.
How is it sealed?
How long does the operation last?
The operation lasts approximately two hours.
Is an anaesthetic required?
Surgery is performed under local or general anaesthesia.
Will it require an overnight stay in hospital?
An overnight stay is not required but is optional if the patient requests it.
Who is suitable?
The following conditions would make you suitable for otoplasty:
- Larger than normal ear lobes
- Ears that stick out disproportionately
- Non-symmetrical ears
How old should I be?
Most patients are between the ages of 4-14, but adults can have surgery too.
Are there any risks attached to having the operation at a young age?
The ears are fully developed by the age of 4 so there is no risk of damaging development. In fact there are positive advantages of having the operation young as cartilage is much softer and so more pliable.
How long is the recovery process?
The average recovery time after the operation is a couple of hours after which you will be up and about. Once home the recovery period is between 5-7 days.
Are there any bandages?
Yes, you will be sent home with your head in a bulky bandage to support the ears in their new position and to encourage the best healing. After 10 days to 2 weeks the bandages will be removed and replaced with a lighter head dressing.
Will it scar?
There will be some small scarring but it should be concealed by the ear crease.
What about any pain?
There will be some throbbing initially but this can be relieved with medication.
When can I go back to work?
You will be able to return to work after 5 days and to school after 7 days.
What are the risks?
As with any surgical procedure there are some risks involved. The main risks are:
- Haematoma – bleeding under the skin and cartilage
- An enlarged, red, itchy scar
- Blood clot on the ear
If you think you have any of the above then you should contact your doctor.
What are the benefits?
The main benefit is psychological. With an improved appearance, patients gain in confidence. Younger patients can avoid future ridicule in the playground by having the operation early.
What are the results?
Improved face contours, there will still be some asymmetry but most patients are very happy with the results.
What about smoking and drinking alcohol?
You shouldn’t smoke and drink in the period before an operation.
Is there anything I should avoid after surgery?
You should avoid any activities involving the ear should be avoided for at least one month.
How do I go about organising it?
If you think you are a suitable candidate then you should meet with your surgeon for a full and frank discussion about the procedure and any associated risks.