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Ear Reshaping Surgery (Otoplasty) Information

Oct 19, 2007
You may be able to hide your ears but that doesn't make growing up with large or protruding ears any easier. Childhood name-calling aside, prominent ears take attention away from the face. The slightest alteration, however, can dramatically change a person's appearance. The otoplasty procedure or ear surgery can decrease the size of your ears and reposition them closer to your head. This procedure is appropriate for adults and children as early as 6 years old.

The procedure is performed in our offices-usually on an outpatient basis. Otoplasty can be performed under local or general anesthetic. With local anesthesia you'll be awake during the procedure but anesthetized and relaxed. Young children usually receive general anesthesia and may spend a night in the hospital for observation. The surgery takes from one to two hours depending on the extent of the procedure.

Preparation
Eat a balanced nutrient-rich diet before surgery. A healthy diet will help speed recovery. Also plan ahead and prepare nutritious meals that are easy to warm up so that you won't need to spend too much time in the kitchen during your recovery.

If you smoke, abstain from smoking for at least six weeks before and after surgery. This reduces the risk of infection and encourages faster healing.
Do not take any medicines containing aspirin or ibuprofen during the two weeks preceding surgery.
Do not eat or drink after midnight the night before surgery.
Be certain you do not have a cold or sunburn the day of surgery.
Do not wear make-up or contact lenses to surgery.
Arrange to have someone take you home after surgery and, if possible, help you around the house for a few days while you recover.

Procedure Information
After you are anesthetized, a small incision is made behind the ear. This prevents visible scarring because the incision line is easily hidden in the natural crease of the ear.

The surgeon removes excess cartilage, reducing the size, and repositions the ear closer to the head. The surgeon places permanent sutures in the cartilage to secure its position and create natural-looking ear folds.

Finally, the head is bandaged to protect the ears.

What to expect
Plan on staying in bed with your head elevated for the first day. Do not sleep on your side. After the procedure is over, patients may experience some numbness and mild swelling and/or discomfort at the incision site. This is normal and will pass with time. Incision site pain is usually minimal and can be controlled with medication, if necessary. Swelling can be treated with cold compresses.

The bandage is usually removed in our office the next day, but patients should continue to wear a stretchy headband or stocking cap for a week.

Patients usually go back to school or work within a week but should continue to take it easy. Avoid any rigorous activity for at least two weeks.

Risks
As with any surgery there is the risk of complication. Most complications associated with otoplasty are minor and will pass with time. Possible complications include bruising, infection, and reactions to the anesthesia. You can reduce your risk of complications by closely following instructions both before and after surgery.
About the Author
Dave Stringham is the President of LookingYourBest.com an online resource for plastic surgery procedures. Learn more about ear surgery and other plastic surgery procedures.
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