Otoplasty refers to a cosmetic plastic surgery to alter the abnormalities in the structure of the ears.
In other words, it is a surgical procedure done to correct or reshape the prominent ears and to lessen the size of large ears.
Otoplasty is the only surgery that is preferred more often for children than adults.
Otoplasty in children is generally done under anesthesia whereas in adults it is performed under general or local anesthesia with sedation. Normally, the otoplasty procedure takes two to three hours.
This surgery is mostly suggested for the children who are born with defects such as microtia and Stahl’s ear. The surgery is also suggested for the children and adults who feel embarrass about their prominent ears.
Microtia is a condition where the auricle (the visible part of the external ear) will be partially or completely missing.
Most of the time, the microtia affects only one ear. On other hand, Stahl’s ear (Vulcan ear or Spock ear) is a birth defect that is described as a pointed upper edge formed by the disparaging of the ear rim and damage of the cartilage.
The otoplasty surgery for microtia, a child’s birth defect, follows a sequence of three to four separate operations. During the first operation, the surgeon removes a piece of cartilage from the rib cage on the opposite side of the treatment ear.
The surgeon makes use of this natural piece of the cartilage in designing the new ear.
For designing the shape of the new ear, the surgeon makes use of a template based on photographs and computer models. The newly prepared cartilage is then placed under the skin on the side of the face.
The skin adjusts itself to fit the new cartilage structure of the ear. On the other hand, the second and third operations are performed to reshape the ear lobe and to lift the new ear into its perfect location.
For otoplasty, most of the surgeons prefer to use absorbable sutures in order to reduce the possibility of unsettling the shape of the ear with the removal of the stitches afterwards.
The otoplasty surgery for protruding or prominent ear, the patient will be anesthetized and the surgeon makes a small incision in the back of the ear. There are two techniques to perform otoplasty for protruding ears.
In one technique, the surgeon removes a piece of cartilage through incision. The cartilage is curved back toward the head and placed carefully in position with non-removable sutures.
The other procedure involves removal of the skin without cartilage, folding the cartilage back on itself and stitching it to reshape the ear. This procedure is called a cartilage-sparing otoplasty.
The otoplasty procedure provides excellent results. As the procedure is very precise one, it should be performed by a well qualified and experienced plastic surgeon or E.N.T Surgeon who can perform this type of surgery skillfully.
Bruising and swelling may follow this otoplasty procedure and it takes seven to fourteen days for these to attain its acceptable appearance. However, to settle the newly shaped ear accurately it takes six months.