Protruding Ears (Otoplasty)
“Otoplasty” refers to surgery performed to correct prominent ears by re-shaping the ear folds and setting the ears closer to the head, in a natural and subtle manner.
Most patients with prominent ears have been concerned with the appearance of their ears since childhood, and indeed this corrective surgery is most often done in children before they enter high school. Doing the surgery in childhood can avoid years of schoolyard taunts, and as adults allow you to wear your hair short or pulled back, which has often been avoided. This condition often runs in families, with parents bringing their children for surgery, which they themselves had, or wished they had, as children too.
How is Otoplasty performed?
Otoplasty is a relatively straight-foward procedure for trained plastic surgeons like Dr Merten. The surgery takes about 2 hours, and is usually done as day surgery, under a general anaesthetic.
Most commonly, patients with prominent ears have two specific features. Firstly, the angle of the ear from the skull is increased, and secondly, the edge of the ear does not have the normal curled shape. Both these features contribute to the appearance, and both are specifically addressed at surgery.
The aim of surgery is to create a very natural, “not operated on” appearance of the ears, by repositioning the ear closer to the skull, and creating a natural fold in the ear by re-modelling the cartilage. The surgery is done from behind the ear, leaving no visible scars. Skin is removed from behind the ear, the cartilage is reshaped, and the ear allowed to bend naturally towards the side of the head.
After otoplasty surgery, you will need to wear a head bandage for several days, but apart from this inconvenience, the recovery is usually very pain free and complications are uncommon. There is a minor amount of bruising and swelling, and occasionally, the ear may protrude again, necessitating a second procedure.
Normal activities can be resumed fairly quickly, with return to school or work by one week, and sport and other activities within a few weeks.