Prominauris, or protruding ears, is the most common malformation of the external ear. It is a result of misshapen ear cartilage, often occurring in utero. The resulting malformation can have a significant impact on one’s self esteem and psychological wellbeing, drawing unwanted attention and ridicule from peers.
Otoplasty is a procedure designed to restore the natural contours of the ear by reshaping the ear cartilage and pinning the ears back into normal anatomic alignment. The procedure is highly reliable, providing a long lasting, natural result.
Otoplasty can be performed in the office with just local anesthesia. Light oral sedation or IV sedation is available if needed. A single incision is made behind each ear to gain access to the underlying cartilage. Placing the incision in this location hides the scar from anyone’s line of sight. Permanent sutures are then placed in precise locations to create the desired shape, position and contour of the ear. Occasionally, some cartilage needs to be excised. The incisions are then closed meticulously on the backside of the ear along natural folds to ensure proper healing and scar camouflage.
The procedure takes approximately 1-2 hours to complete and patients are able to go home the same day.
After your surgery, you will have an incision behind your ear that will require daily cleaning until fully healed. There is typically not much pain associated with the procedure and some bruising and swelling is normal. You will be required to wear a light elastic headband around your ears all day for the first week after your procedure. This is to protect your ears and keep them in position as they heal. After the first week, you will only need to wear the headband at night for the following few weeks.
We ask that you refrain from physical activity for two weeks. After that time, you may resume light physical activity. At three weeks, there are no restrictions. Pain is usually minimal and can be controlled with Tylenol or low dose pain medication if needed.
Otoplasty is best performed once the ears are fully developed. This is typically around 4 – 5 years of age, just prior to the development of self-identification and the changing social environment associated with schooling. When performed around this timeframe, children avoid the potential for teasing or other psychological challenges that comes with prominent ears. Also at this age, children tend to forget the procedure altogether, leaving no lasting unpleasant experience.
Otoplasty can also be performed on older children or even adults who have never addressed their ears at a younger age. There is no maximum age restriction. Patients should be in good overall health with realistic expectations.
A properly performed otoplasty should result in permanent, long lasting results. Permanent sutures are used to contour the ear cartilage to its natural shape and configuration. Once the ears fully heal into their new position, it is unlikely they will return to their previous state.