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 age of five. At Ponte Vedra Plastic Surgery there are two main techniques that may be used to achieve the desired look during this procedure. 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. Members of our highly trained and experienced surgical team will work closely with you to decide on the appropriate technique for you and your cosmetic needs.
The technique used during ear surgery will depend on the abnormality. First, there may be an insufficient amount of ear cartilage to support the fold of the ear, or too much cartilage where the ear canal starts. Both issues will cause the ear to protrude outward. In some cases, the ears may appear too large. Regardless of the condition, the cartilage will usually be addressed and either removed or reshaped. Then, the cartilage will be secured with sutures into a new position closer to the head. The incision is generally placed within the natural folds of the ear so scarring is not an issue.
All otoplasties are performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure in an accredited surgical facility. The entire surgery typically takes about 2 hours to complete. After surgery, patients will be sent home with their heads wrapped in a compression bandage, which will later be replaced with lighter bandaging. Initially, patients will feel discomfort if they attempt to move their ears. This will subside in a few days. Younger patients will need to be monitored so they do not touch or play with their ears during the healing process.
Ear Surgery FAQs
The results following an otoplasty procedure are long lasting. However, just like any other cosmetic procedure, aging and gravity may cause increased laxity. This could eventually affect the position of the ears. For the most part, the improvements made with this surgery are still significant.
Children between the ages of 4-6 are considered within the ideal range for this surgery. From an anatomical standpoint, the cartilage is still soft and will be easier to remold and manipulate. From a psychological standpoint, having this surgery before starting elementary school can help avoid teasing and ridicule from classmates.
Both Ear or Just One?
In the majority of cases, both ears are affected. Therefore, surgery is performed on both ears. However, there may sometimes be an abnormality in just one ear. If this is the case, surgery will be performed on the affected ear, which will be made to match the opposing ear.
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The average cost for an otoplasty will vary depending on the complexity of the surgical case. However, the national average for this surgery ranges between $3,500-$6,000. Unfortunately, in almost all cases, otoplasty is considered a cosmetic procedure and therefore is not covered by insurance.