Otoplasty (Ear Surgery, Ear Pinning)
Ear surgery, or otoplasty, is usually done to place ears back closer to the head or to reduce the size of large ears.
For the most part, the operation is done on children between the ages of four and 14. Ears are almost fully grown by age four. Adults can also receive ear surgery, and there are generally no additional risks associated with ear surgery for older patients.
If you are considering ear surgery for yourself or your child, this information will provide a basic understanding of the procedure such as when it can help, how it is performed, and what results you can expect. It cannot answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on your individual circumstances. Please be sure to ask your doctor if there is anything you do not understand about the procedure.
Uncertainty and risk
When ear surgery is performed by a qualified, experienced surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. Like with any operation though, there are risks associated with surgery and specific complications associated with this procedure.
A small percentage of patients may develop a blood clot on the ear. It may dissolve naturally or can be drawn out with a needle.
Occasionally, patients develop an infection in the cartilage, which can result in scar tissue forming. Such infections are usually treated with antibiotics. However, surgery may be required to drain the infected area, although this is very rare.
Patients need to elevate their head to decrease the swelling and cannot lie on their sides for 7-10 days after surgery. Sleep on a soft pillow or a foam pillow. If you wear glasses, adjust the temple pieces of the glasses so that not too much pressure is put on your ears.
Do not remove the dressings. Your surgeon or a nurse will remove them 3-5 days after surgery. Once the dressings are removed, do not pull on the stitches or bend the ear forward.
Wear a headband over the ears for 6-8 weeks after surgery when sleeping or during sports activities and whenever it is possible. The greater amount of time you wear the headband may ensure a better result.
If there is crusting along the suture lines behind the ears, apply antibiotic ointment after cleansing with soap and water.
Protect your ears from cold temperatures since you may not feel extremes of temperature due to temporary numbness. Tingling, burning, and “shooting pain” sensations may occur as the superficial nerves regenerate.
For 3-6 months after your surgery, your ears will turn pink and may swell in hot weather.