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Ear Surgery/Pinning (Otoplasty)

Article-Ear Surgery/Pinning (Otoplasty)

Procedure Description: Otoplasty is a procedure used to reduce large or protruding ears by setting the ears back closer to the head, as well as molding, shaping and/or removing cartilage. Otoplasty can be performed at any age, after the ears have reached (or nearly reached) their full size (usually around 5 to 6 years of age). The procedure is often performed on children to avoid teasing and other issues that can affect self esteem. The procedure generally involves reforming the cartilage that shapes the ears, to pull them in and reduce the protrusion. Sutures (stitches) are placed in the cartilage on the back side of the ear to maintain the new position. Incisions and the resulting scars are well concealed on the back of the ear, so that there is no visible scarring. Surgery begins with an incision just behind the ear, in the natural fold where the ear is joined to the head. The surgeon will then remove the necessary amounts of cartilage and skin required to achieve the right effect. In some cases, the surgeon will trim the cartilage, shaping it into a more desirable form and then pin the cartilage back with permanent sutures to secure the cartilage. In other instances, the surgeon will not remove any cartilage at all, using stitches to hold the cartilage permanently in place.

Length of Procedure: Otoplasty generally takes about one to two hours per ear.

Recovery: Most doctors have patients wear a headband for a few weeks after surgery in order to protect the surgical repair. If you can wear this at work, then you can probably return to work quickly. Most normal activities can be resumed within a few weeks, but you will need to be very careful to protect your ears for at least 6 weeks, or possibly even longer. In order to make sure that there is no infection or bleeding in the ear after the surgery, you must be very careful to protect the ears and keep them clean. In addition, bending the ears forward in the first few months after the surgery can destroy even the finest surgical result.

Risks: All surgery carries some risk of scarring, bleeding, reaction to anesthesia and infection. The health risks from these are relatively minor in this surgery, but special care must be taken because infection or collection of blood under the skin can deform the ear cartilages. Rarely, a second procedure will be necessary, or one of the non-dissolving sutures (stitches) left in the ear will work its way to the surface and have to be removed.

Results: <.b>Ear surgery can help people avoid the teasing and self-esteem issues associated with having large, protruding ears and dramatically change a person’s appearance simply by making the ears look normal. Often the problem is caused by an undeveloped middle fold of the ear. There may be other deformities as well, making it necessary to perform several procedures on the ear at the same time. Otoplasty can reshape the ears, reduce their size, make them more symmetrical, and/or position them closer to the head. The results are usually permanent; although, there is always some small amount of “springing back” of the ears due to the elastic recoil of the ear cartilage.

Estimated Cost: The average cost of otoplasty is $2,535.

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