Ear Surgery: The Different Types of Otoplasty

What is Otoplasty?

A plastic surgeon will perform an otoplasty to significantly alter the shape of a patient's external ear. There are many types of otoplasty, which include pinning the ears as well as increasing and decreasing the size of the ears. However, it is important to note that an otoplasty can only correct issues with the external ear, so it, not a procedure that is used to treat deafness or hearing loss because these problems stem from the inner ear.

How is the Procedure Performed?

An otoplasty is typically performed on children between the ages of four and 14 years old. The external ear is different from most other parts of the body as the ears will be fully developed by the time an individual reaches four years of age. However, there is not an age limit for an otoplasty, so adults can successfully have the procedure later in life if they choose. In most circumstances, an otoplasty is performed on both ears. Although there are some people who only have cosmetic problems with one ear, a plastic surgeon will still perform the procedure on both ears for an even balance.

The procedure can be simple if an individual has stretched earlobes, which can easily be corrected by removing the excess skin. However, other problems may result in a plastic surgeon having to sculpt and rearrange the cartilage of the outer ear to achieve the desired result.

Although the appearance of the ear typically doesn't influence the health of most people, many parents feel it is a necessary procedure that will prevent their children from having self-esteem problems. Moreover, the external ear aids in sound moving from the ear canal to the inner ear. An otoplasty can reshape the external ear and help individuals hear more clearly.

Who are Ideal Candidates for the Procedure?

Ideal candidates for the procedure should be older than four years old without any serious health conditions. It is best to discuss any health problems with your plastic surgeon during your consultation. In addition, those preparing for the surgery should have a realistic expectation of the results.

If you are a parent who thinks your child may benefit from an otoplasty, it is important to discuss the procedure with your child before making a commitment. In some cases, your child may be momentarily comfortable with his or her ears so it may be best to wait until they are ready to have the procedure.

Because this type of surgery is typically performed for cosmetic purposes, it probably won't be covered by health insurance. However, some insurance companies will pay for an otoplasty if the ear suffered from trauma or was due to a birth defect. If you contact your health insurance provider, you can find out the circumstances in which the procedure will be covered.

How is the Procedure Performed?

If you are seeking an otoplasty for yourself or your child, it is necessary that you have an understanding of how the procedure is carried out. Although problems that may arise from an otoplasty are extremely rare, it is still a surgical procedure with some risks.

The time of the procedure will vary based on the approach that is used, but generally, it takes two to three hours to perform an otoplasty. In most cases, an otoplasty isn't performed in conjunction with other cosmetic procedures, such as a facelift or rhinoplasty, because most of the patients are children who are not in need of additional cosmetic procedures. When the procedure is complete, a plastic surgeon will close the incision with sutures, which will either be removed later or absorb into the skin. A dressing will be applied to protect the area and keep the ears in the correct position. Typically, the bandages used for an otoplasty will be wrapped around the entire head, which will ensure the remolded ear retains its new shape.

What are the Most Common Types of Otoplasty?

The most common type of otoplasty is performed to fix ears that protrude too far or are too large. This approach is typically known as ear pinning or pinning back the ears. When this technique is used, a plastic surgeon will make an incision behind the ear and position the ear closer to the head.

When the ear needs to be enlarged, or an aesthetic ear needs to be made, a plastic surgeon will take the cartilage or bone from a donor area to be used as filler tissue for the ear. The procedure can be performed in a hospital or surgical center.

An otoplasty is considered to be a simple procedure so it can be performed with only a local anesthetic to numb the ear. Patients may also be given a mild sedative to relax, but children are usually given general anesthesia, which will keep the child from awakening. In addition, general anesthesia is also recommended for children because it will prevent them from moving during the procedure.

If you are seeking a skilled facial plastic surgeon for an otoplasty, then Dr. Frankel is one of the top plastic surgeons in the Los Angeles area. Dr. Andrew S. Frankel is board certified in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and exclusively performs surgery in the face, head and neck regions.

Ear Surgery: The Different Types of Otoplasty Ear Surgery: The Different Types of Otoplasty Reviewed by Admin on 10:37 PM Rating: 5

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