Ear surgery, also known as otoplasty, ear pinning, and earlobe repair, can help children and adults who have concerns about the physical appearance of their ears. Often adults want to achieve a more natural profile or repair an earlobe that has been torn or stretched. Many parents also consider ear surgery for their child to prevent teasing about the size and shape of their ears. For the most part, ear surgery is done on children after age five since ears are almost fully grown by age four, and the earlier the surgery, the less teasing and ridicule the child will have to endure. Ear surgery on adults is also possible and there are generally no additional risks associated with ear surgery on an older patient. Anyone considering ear surgery for themselves or their child, should make a consultation at The Lubbock Plastic Surgery Institute. At the Lubbock or Midland office, Dr. Schmid or Dr. Mooty can examine the patient’s ears and determine if they are a suitable candidate for ear surgery.
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The technique used during ear surgery will depend on the abnormality. First, there may be an insufficient amount of ear cartilage to support the fold of the ear, or too much cartilage where the ear canal starts. Both issues will cause the ear to protrude outward. In some cases, the ears may appear too large. Regardless of the condition, the cartilage will usually be addressed and either removed or reshaped. Then, the cartilage will be secured with sutures into a new position closer to the head. The incision is generally placed within the natural folds of the ear so scarring is not an issue.
All otoplasties are performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure in an accredited surgical facility. The entire surgery typically takes about 2 hours to complete. After surgery, patients will be sent home with their heads wrapped in a compression bandage, which will later be replaced with lighter bandaging. Initially, patients will feel discomfort if they attempt to move their ears. This will subside in a few days. Younger patients will need to be monitored so they do not touch or play with their ears during the healing process.
Plan Your Procedure
- Recovery Time
- 1 - 3 Weeks
- Average Procedure Time
- 2 - 3 Hours
- Procedure Recovery Location
Ear Surgery FAQs
The results following an otoplasty procedure are long lasting. However, just like any other cosmetic procedure, aging and gravity may cause increased laxity. This could eventually affect the position of the ears. For the most part, the improvements made with this surgery are still significant.
Children between the ages of 4-6 are considered within the ideal range for this surgery. From an anatomical standpoint, the cartilage is still soft and will be easier to remold and manipulate. From a psychological standpoint, having this surgery before starting elementary school can help avoid teasing and ridicule from classmates.
Both Ear or Just One?
In the majority of cases, both ears are affected. Therefore, surgery is performed on both ears. However, there may sometimes be an abnormality in just one ear. If this is the case, surgery will be performed on the affected ear, which will be made to match the opposing ear.