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Otoplasty

Nothing affects the way we feel about ourselves quite as much as what others think and say about our appearance.  People with prominent ears, or ears that stick out further from the head than what is considered normal, are often the target of teasing and ridicule and often have low self-esteem and marked self- consciousness. Prominent ear surgery is one of the most successful of all plastic surgeries. By making a small incision behind the ear, the surgeon is able to reshape the ear cartilage helping them to sit closer to the head.  In an ideal situation, this surgery is done when a child is around 5 years of age before starting school.  We usually don’t do this surgery before 5 years of age because a child’s ear is still growing.  This can be done later in life as well.  So, if it was not done when you were five, it is never too late.  The cartilage does get a little more firm, and can be a little more difficult to shape, as you get older.

How much pain will I have?

Mild to Moderate

How much will it cost?

A price quote detailing fees for the facility, anesthesia and surgeon will be given at the consultation.

What is the hospital/surgery center time?

Surgery will be approximately 2-3 hours as determined on a case by case basis.  Typically this is done as an outpatient procedure.

What medications should I take or avoid with my surgery?

You should not take any blood thinners or anti-inflammatory medications for a week before your procedure, and you should hold all over the counter supplements a week before surgery.  This will help reduce the risk of bleeding intraoperatively, and help reduce the risk of postoperative hematoma (collection of blood).  If blood thinners are prescribed for you by your cardiologist or primary care physician, you should get clearance from them to hold these medications before they are discontinued.  You should hold all hormones 6 weeks before surgery.  Birth control pills should be held 6 weeks before surgery as well.  Of course you should make sure to use alternative forms of birth control during and after this time.  Hormones and birth control pills put you at a higher risk of blood clots.  These clots can go to your lungs and cause serious illness or even death.  We call this a pulmonary embolus.  Steroids should be weaned off at least a month before your surgery, and this weaning process should be set up and cleared by your prescribing physician.  Dr. Lovelace and the staff will go through your list of medication, and let you know what exactly you need to do with those medications preoperatively.  Make sure that you bring all of your medications with you to your consultation.  You will usually be given your prescriptions for your postoperative medication on your preoperative visit so that they can be filled and at your house when you get home from surgery.

Will I need clearances from any other physicians?

Depending on your age and medical issues, Dr. Lovelace and her staff may set you up with your primary care physician, cardiologist, etc. for clearance prior to your surgery.  At that time any necessary labs, EKGs, or chest x-rays will be done.

What is the recovery?

Sutures are typically dissolvable and do not need to be removed.  You will typically have a head wrap that will stay in place till your first follow up visit with Dr. Lovelace.  She will then ask that you wear a soft head band for a couple of weeks.  Most people return to light duty work or school a week after surgery.  No swimming until 4 weeks after surgery.  Scars will flatten and fade between 3 months and 2 years after surgery, and are usually not even noticeable behind the ears.

What are the risks?

The risks of otoplasty include bleeding, infection, scarring, hematoma, seroma, cauliflower ear deformity, suture visibility/palpability/breakage, relaxation over time, recurrence of prominent ears, dehiscence, numbness/hypersensation, skin necrosis, asymmetry, poor cosmesis, need for further intervention, cardiac/pulmonary/stroke/DVT/PE events, death, etc.