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What Is the Best Age for Otoplasty?

What is otoplasty?

Otoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure to reduce the prominence and shape of unusually large or protruding ears.
Otoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure to reduce the prominence and shape of unusually large or protruding ears.

Otoplasty is a type of cosmetic ear surgery to reshape the ear, improving its structure and/or function. 

Some of the early otoplasty surgeries were done mainly to improve the appearance of the ears after trauma. The surgery may also restore confidence in children with unusually prominent ears. 

How big is the ‘big-ear’ problem?

Large or protruding ears may function perfectly, but psychologically they can affect the individual’s confidence and day-to-day life. 

Furthermore, protruding ears may be a sign of concealed birth defects related to the genitals and urinary system that may require medical attention.

Who considers otoplasty surgery?

Otoplasty is for individuals who:

  • Are dissatisfied with the appearance of their protruding ears
  • Feel their ear size is too large in proportion to their heads
  • Have ear disfiguration because of trauma or previous surgery

When should otoplasty be avoided?

You should avoid seeking otoplasty if

  • You have unrealistic expectations about the cosmetic improvement after surgery.
  • You are not committed to provide yourself the prescribed postoperative care
  • You are prone to the formation of big scars or keloids, and cannot accept the probability of these occurring.  

What is the best age for otoplasty?

The ear is fully shaped at birth. By age three, the ear is almost 85% of the adult size. By age five or six, the adult size is nearly achieved. Further increase in size with aging is due to the elongation of the earlobe and not actual growth. Thus, the best age for otoplasty is after the adult ear size is achieved, which means after the age of five. 

How long does it take to recover from otoplasty?

Most people can appreciate the results of the surgery soon after the bandages are removed. Some, especially adults, may need a bit of psychological adjustment to their new appearance. Although recovery varies from patient to patient, you can expect to get back to your routine activities in a week or two.

  • Your doctor will examine you on the first post-operative day. 
  • Your bandages will be removed to inspect your ears and look for any collection of blood underneath the skin of the ears. 
  • The ears will then be rebandaged until the next exam a day later. 
  • After inspection of the ears, an elastic headband is placed over the head and ears. 
  • You must wear this continuously for the next five days and during sleep for the following two weeks. 
  • On the seventh postoperative day, stitches are removed. 
  • There might be some amount of bruising and swelling that subside in 14 days.

What are the complications of otoplasty?

Otoplasty can lead to unwanted results:

  • Incomplete correction of prominent ears 
  • Telephone ear: This results if the mid-portion of the ear is corrected more than the upper and lower poles 
  • Reverse telephone ear deformity: This is a result of inadequate correction of the central portion of the ear relative to the upper and lower poles.
  • Overcorrection of a prominent ear can lead to abnormal appearance of the ear
  • Scarring
  • Swelling
  • Disfigured ears
  • Infection

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Reviewed on 5/21/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference

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