If your ears are large and protruding or asymmetric and causing you some concern, otoplasty may be the appropriate procedure. For some children, protruding ears may have a bigger impact on self-esteem due to teasing by others. Otoplasty is also known as ear pinning. This procedure is designed to restore a more normal appearance and position of the ears. It can be performed at any age starting in mid-childhood.
Ears come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes, just one ear is protruding. It is also possible that just the upper part or another part of the ear is out of place. During consultation we would review all of your concerns and discuss the various alternative treatments to address them.
Otoplasty can be performed as an office procedure under local anesthesia or it can be performed under more heavy anesthesia such as general anesthesia. It usually takes about 1 to 2 hours to perform. After your surgery, we will have you wear a headband to protect your ears for a period of time depending on your activities. There tends to be mild swelling and possibly bruising that can take one to two weeks to fully resolve. In general it takes about 6 to 8 weeks for complete healing.
Most commonly, I use a modified new start a technique. In this procedure, and incision is made on the back part of the ear adjacent to the junction of the ear with a head. This allows the scar to be well hidden. A small ellipse of skin is removed and stitches are placed in the appropriate position to fold in the ear back to a more normal position. In addition, the cartilage is etched to facilitate the appropriate folding of it. When we perform this procedure under local anesthesia, we often have the patient look in a mirror during the folding part to verify the degree of setback of the ear.
Please let us know if you would like any further information on this procedure. Examples of this procedure are in the before and after photo section.
A common injury to the earlobe is a partial or complete split resulting from earrings. We call this a bifid earlobe. This may result from the long-term wearing of heavy hearings or from earrings catching on closing. I have heard that nieces and nephews are particularly adept at pulling on earrings. An incomplete split of the ear piercing hole may cause an enlarged hole that prevents the wearing of an earring as the back may fall through.
Earlobe repair is a simple procedure which is performed under local anesthesia in the office. After numbing up the earlobe, the edges of the split are freshened and stitches placed too close to split. I use a modified stitch on the front of the earlobe to minimize any visible scarring. A small skin colored tape is applied after the repair.
In one week, stitches are removed. Re-piercing the ear is performed six weeks later to allow the repair to strongly heal. After discussing with you the location for a new piercing, I prefer to repierced the ear myself as the new hole should not be on the repaired site but maybe just adjacent to it to minimize the chance of recurrence. Re-piercing the ear is covered in the fee for the initial repair. Please give us a call if you would like to set up a consultation for this.