FAQS On Otoplasty

What is otoplasty?  
Otoplasty, also known as cosmetic ear surgery, is a plastic surgery procedure that corrects and improves the shape and position of the ear. Ears that protrude are placed back in a more natural position. The shape can also be improved so that the ear appears more natural.  

Who is the best candidate for the procedure?  
Good candidates for otoplasty include individuals who are physically healthy, realistic in their expectations, and interested in improving the appearance of their protruding ears. The procedure is often performed on children between the ages of five and fourteen. Otoplasty also often performed on adults. 

Are there any age restrictions for who can undergo surgery?  
The surgeon performs the otoplasty procedure on children beginning at age five. The reason for performing the procedure at age five is two-fold. One, the children’s ears have developed by this age. Two, the children enter grade school at this age and may be teased or picked on. Having the surgery before entering grade school will avoid this situation. The surgeon also performs the procedure on healthy adults that have protruding ears. 

What happens during a consultation for otoplasty?  
The surgeon will personally meet with you during the consultation. He will examine and evaluate you. He will then show you before and after pictures and then explain the surgical procedure from beginning to end. This explanation will include what surgical technique he will use, where the surgery will be performed, what type of anesthesia, and a step-by-step explanation of what the recovery will be like. You will then meet with the patient care coordinator, who will explain the scheduling details and the cost. 

Where is it performed?  
The surgeon performs the otoplasty procedure his clinic-based operating room or his affiliated hospital. 

What type of anesthesia is used for the procedure?  
The surgeon performs the otoplasty procedure with local anesthesia and sedation. 

How is the actual procedure performed?  
The surgeon uses the Mustard technique to recreate the anti-helical fold. This technique uses permanent sutures to recreate the fold. No cartilage is cut or removed in this portion of the procedure. This allows for a natural shape without any sharp edges. The bowl of the ear is then set back. All of this is done via a small incision in the back of the ear. 

How long is the surgical time for it?  
The otoplasty procedure typically takes about one hour to complete. 

Where are the incisions made?  
The incision for the otoplasty procedure is typically made just behind the ear in the natural fold where the ear meets the head. 

Are there scars after the procedure?  
The incision made for otoplasty will not be noticeable after it has healed. 

Is it a painful procedure?  
Most patients experience some mild discomfort the first night. This is well controlled with mild pain medication.  

What is the recovery like after otoplasty?  
The recovery for otoplasty is rather mild. The surgery is ambulatory, meaning that the patient is allowed to return home the same day of the surgery. The surgeon will place a bandage over the ears after the conclusion of the procedure. The patient will then return to the office on the first post-operative day. The bandage will then be removed and a small elastic bandage placed. This elastic bandage will stay on for the first five days. The patient can remove it to eat or brush their teeth, but it should remain on for the majority of the time. The patient returns to the office on the fifth post-operative day. The patient is asked to wear the bandage for the second week only during sleep.  

When will I be able to return to work after otoplasty?  
Patients are generally able to return to work about one week after the otoplasty procedure. 

How soon after otoplasty can exercise be resumed?  
The surgeon asks that his patients resume exercise three weeks after having the procedure. 

When are the stitches removed after the otoplasty procedure?  
The surgeon uses absorbable stitches for the otoplasty procedure so no need for removal. 

What are the risks or complications associated with otoplasty?  
The risks associated with otoplasty are minimal but may include the following: infection, scarring and the possibility of asymmetry.