Everything You Need To Know About Otoplasty And Its Effects On Protruding Ears

Do you have too prominent ears that are always ‘sticking out’? These ‘flap-ears’ are resulted from the construction issues found in the ears, which starts emerging as one grows, if not in the early years. But the worst thing about having such protruding ears is that they can cause embarrassment, low self-esteem, and psychological distress to a huge extent. Moreover, they are equally discomforting for both adults and kids. Hence, if you want to get your ears reformed for a more pleasant look, otoplasty can be your solution. Go through this article to know more about otoplasty and make a well-informed decision.

Reasons For Ear Deformities

Around 5% of the general population of the country have ear deformities and they usually occur for a variety of reasons. Some of them are:

  • Overdevelopment: The outer ear has an overgrowth due to the presence of several cartilages in it.
  • Underdevelopment: The outer edge of the cartilage, which is found at the top of the ear, does not fold towards the head well due to improper development.
  • Angle: The outer ear sticks out from the side of the head at an angle more than 35 degree.
  • Injury: Sometimes an injury can also make an ear protrude out.
  • Heredity: Almost 30% of newborns have congenital ear deformities, which appear unusual in the first 3 months. Most of these are self-correcting and get fixed in a week post-birth. Otherwise, a non-surgical correction or an otoplasty is required.

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What Is Otoplasty?

‘Otoplasty’, also known as ‘Pinnaplasty’ or ‘Ear Pinning’, is a reconstructive cosmetic surgery that aims at rectifying the existing deformities in the outer ear or ‘pinna’ and improving the overall appearance of the organ. It is a less complex surgical procedure, which can be performed in one ear or both ears as required. Whether it is a congenital deformity or accidental injury, otoplasty reshapes or resizes the outer parts of ears to repair even the most minor concerns and boost the confidence level of the person. However, as pinna has no major function in our hearing, the procedure does not impact our hearing in any way.

Types Of Otoplasty

Being a reconstructive surgery, otoplasty can be of 3 different types to suit the needs and desires of the patient. These are:

  • Ear Augmentation: Enhancement of the underdeveloped or non-existent pinna (microtia)
  • Ear Reduction: Reduction of the overdeveloped pinna (macrotia)
  • Otopexy: Pinning back the protruding ears to make them look flatter

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What Issues Does It Address?

Otoplasty involves the surgical repairing of a number of issues related to ear cartilage, which include:

  • Overly large ears
  • Protruding or sticking-out ears (large cartilage bowls)
  • Floppy ears (weak cartilage in upper ear lobes)
  • Folded upper helical rim

Ideal Candidates For Otoplasty

While adults can undergo otoplasty surely, the procedure can also be performed on kids as young as 2 years. However, it is important to delay the surgery up to the age of 6 years so that the ears can be more developed and become full-size. One also needs to have a good physical health in order to get the shape and appearance of their ears corrected through the surgery.

How Is Otoplasty Performed?

The process of otoplasty is simpler and safer than many other cosmetic surgeries. Following are the steps involved in it:

  1. In kids, the procedure is performed under general anesthesia while in youth as well as adults, IV sedation supplemented with local anesthesia is used.
  2. The area of the outer ear on which the surgeon will work is outlined precisely. This helps carry out the surgical procedure efficiently.
  3. An incision is made on the cartilage behind the ear exactly where the organ joins the head and creates a natural fold. It ensures that only a thin scar will be left, which will be barely noticeable.
  4. The cartilage and skin in the traced area are scored and reshaped in order to reset the angle of the ear and bring it in better proportion with the head. For this, a hollow needle is inserted into the backside of the auricle and the cartilage is repositioned or remoulded. Sometimes, it is simply trimmed and pinned back as per the requirements.
  5. Once everything is done, the incision is closed with permanent and dissolvable sutures to hold the ear in its proper position until it heals and preserve its natural appearance.

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Duration Of Otoplasty

Typically, an otoplasty surgery takes approximately 1-2 hours depending on the changes need to be accomplished. Before you are discharged, the head is wrapped with a fluffy bandage so that the ear is protected and the cartilage is secured in its new position.

Recovery Guidelines

You must exercise the following caution to protect your ears from all kind of trauma or injury during the recovery period:

  • Make sure that your head is elevated even also during the sleep.
  • Try to keep your head as much cool as possible (avoid everything else that could heat it up).
  • Keep the bandage intact and skip washing your hair for at least 1 week.
  • Wear a tennis headband f(loose yet supportive) or 2 more weeks after the removal of the bandage.
  • Resume your regular activities including workout after 5-6 weeks.
  • Stay away from swimming for at least 8 weeks.
  • No physical contact sports should be practiced up to 3 months.

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Side Effects And Risks

Common side effects of the surgery include mild bruising, soreness, numbness, stiffness, throbbing, aching, and so on. However, all of these will resolve completely anywhere between a week and a month. There are also some minor risks and potential complications associated with otoplasty. These are prolonged numbness, swelling, internal bruising (haematoma), bleeding, inflammation, infections, necrosis, superficial discomfort, overcorrection, partial correction, and asymmetry. Your surgeon will prescribe you painkillers, antibiotics, and other necessary medications based on the issues you are experiencing so that everything subsides without causing any harmful effects on your ear,

Cost Of Otoplasty

The cost of otoplasty covers the surgeon’s fee, operating room fee, anesthesiologist fee, and all follow-up visits. Generally, it ranges from $3,000 to $6,000 based on the requirements of the patient.

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Divya Rechesh

Divya Rechesh is a Freelance Writer based in Mumbai currently. Outgoing, spunky and practical is what describes her the best. She hopes to experience new things everyday in life and contribute something to this world through her writing.

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