by Ponte Vedra Plastic Surgery
Ear surgery, or otoplasty, is a popular procedure for people wishing to reduce the appearance of large or protruding ears and is typically available to anyone over the ages of five.
We have prepared this introduction to the ear surgery procedure to give you an idea of what the procedure involves and how you can prepare. However the details of your particular surgery will be discussed with you in detail by your surgeon.
Ear Surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation to help the patient relax. The procedure usually takes between two to three hours.
There are two main techniques that may be used. Surgery generally begins with a small incision made along the back of the ear. One common technique involves trimming or removing pieces of cartilage, reshaping the remaining cartilage and stitching it back in order to draw the ears closer to the head. Another technique makes use of the same incision, but instead of removal of cartilage, it is folded, reshaped and stitched to create a new contour. With each of these techniques, after the cartilage is reshaped the incision is stitched closed, the patients head is wrapped in bandages both to protect the areas of surgery behind the ears and to help in the healing process.
What to tell your Surgeon
Prior to your surgery, you will speak to your surgeon. Your surgeon will ask you a number of questions about medications you might currently be taking, vitamins or even herbs. This may not seem important but it is very important for your surgeon to know prior to your surgery.
As Ear Surgery is generally a cosmetic procedure, it is also important to discuss in great detail your desired result. This information combined with a close examination will allow your surgeon to fully explain the preferred procedure and what expectations you should have.
The following points can help to reduce scarring, shorten your recovery time, and decrease your chances of complications:
• Discontinue using Aspirin or Ibuprofen (these act as blood thinners and could cause problems with blood clotting).
• Stop smoking for at least two weeks before and one week after surgery as nicotine can impair circulation and healing.
• Don’t drink alcohol in excess before or after surgery.
• Drink several glasses of water in the days leading up to your procedure.
To make your recovery easier and more comfortable be sure to:
• Arrange for someone to take you home and take care of you for at least the first day.
• Fill your prescriptions and place them within easy reach of where you will be resting.
• Place plenty of pillows and a bed wedge nearby so that you can keep your head elevated.
Post-Ear Surgery – What you should expect
After surgery it is not uncommon for your ears to ache or throb, however pain is usually minimal and simply uncomfortable. This discomfort can be treated with basic pain medication. Stitches will come out or be absorbed on their own within a week and ten days. However some swelling and sensitivity may linger for up to a month after otoplasty surgery.
The recovery process is different for everyone, but within a day of your ear surgery, you should be up and walking around. You may shower following surgery. Keep your head elevated for two or three days while applying small ice packs to help reduce swelling and discomfort. After a few days, the bandages will be removed. You should plan on being out of work and away from your usual activities for the first few days. For the next two or three weeks your ears may be very sensitive and strenuous physical activities should be limited. Most patients will need to wear a tight fitting headband for at least one month in order to secure the ears in their new position. Following this period you may gradually return to activities such as lifting and exercise. Activity where helmets or other devices may come in contact with the ear and bend the ear forward should be avoided for several months following surgery.
Scars from ear surgery are usually small, and because they are placed along the back of your ears, they are often unnoticeable by others. Results are usually permanent, though there might be some minor change in size and position as you age. The appearance of your ears will continue to improve over a period of time.
As we mentioned, results will vary from person to person as we are all different. However we are very proud to have made such a positive difference for so many of our patients. If you are considering Ear Surgery, please feel free to contact any of the Ponte Vedra Plastic Surgery offices below to schedule a consultation. We would be pleased to discuss the details of ear surgery and how this procedure might be right for you.
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