Ear Reshaping: Procedure Overview
Procedure– Ear reshaping, or otoplasty, can correct prominent, protruding ears. Ear reshaping procedures are designed to address abnormalities in the cartilage and skin of the ear in an effort to restore the ears to a more normal shape and position. Ear abnormalities are often present from birth, and are due to abnormal development and folding of the cartilage. Other congenital ear abnormalities such as Stahls ear, lop ear, and cryptotia can result in misshapen ears.
The surgery and the incisions – The standard otoplasty takes 1-2 hours to complete. More complex ear conditions can take longer. Most surgeries are performed in an outpatient or inpatient operating suite, under twilight or general anesthesia. Other procedures can be performed in the office with local anesthetic. Phoenix cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Brown, will discuss all options that are right for you during your consultation. In most cases, the incisions can be hidden in the natural skin creases of the ear.
Otoplasty can treat: Large ears, protruding ears or dissatisfaction with previous ear surgery. You are a good candidate for Otoplasty if you are at least five years old, healthy, can follow directions well and are cooperative.
Before Ear Surgery
Preparing for surgery – Tell Dr. Brown about any medical problems you have, and any problems you may have had with surgery in the past. A history of bleeding problems, nausea with surgery and high blood pressure are all important to disclose to your surgeon, because these are risk factors for post-surgical bleeding. You will be told which medications to stop and which to take before surgery. If you smoke, you will be asked to quit for a minimum of 4 weeks prior to surgery as well as 4 weeks after surgery. Finally, you must strictly follow the instructions about when to start fasting before surgery (usually at midnight). If you get sick or have any health issues in the days before surgery, please notify the office at once in case we have to postpone your operation.
Can I go home the day of the surgery? – Yes, otoplasty can be done safely as an outpatient, and most patients will be able to go home the same day. Dr. Brown, Scottsdale plastic surgeon, will also give you a headband and instruct you on how to wear it to help protect your ears after surgery.
After Ear Surgery
How much swelling or bruising can I expect? – Swelling and bruising are normal signs of the healing process. Swelling peaks at about 48 hours, and then rapidly decreases. By the end of the first few weeks, most of the swelling is gone. By 6-8 weeks, all of the swelling has diminished.
What restrictions are there? – Generally, you can shower in 1-2 days after surgery, but you should not submerge incisions in the bath, hot-tub, or swimming pool for 2-3 weeks. The first day after surgery is usually spent lying in bed or sitting in a chair. Most patients then begin walking around the house the day after surgery. By the end of the first week, you will probably be ready to leave the house for short trips and light walks. Vigorous activities should not be performed until 6 weeks after surgery. Also, you shouldn’t do any heavy lifting (over 10 pounds) during these 6 weeks.
These are only general guidelines, and Dr. Brown will give you more specific instructions at your consultation.
When can I travel? – You should wait to travel by air or long distances until after your first post-operative visit, which generally happens 5-7 days after the surgery. Patients who are at high risk for developing a blood clot should not travel until instructed by Dr. Brown. Short car trips under 60 minutes can be done before the first visit. A good rule of thumb is when you are off the stronger pain medication and can get up without assistance you are ready to go for a short drive. You should not drive the car yourself, until your surgeon gives you clearance.
What if I have a problem? When should I call the office? – We always welcome calls from patients. If you have any concerns at any time, please feel free to contact our office. If it is an emergency, the answering service is available 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays.