Otoplasty, or ear surgery, is a plastic surgery procedure which improves protruding or over-developed ears. Otoplasty is often referred to as “ear pinning” because the ears are essentially pinned back closer to the head. The surgery may be performed as early as age six which is generally when the ears have stopped developing. Because large or protruding ears can result in significant teasing and psychological damage, treating the ears at an early age can be ideal. Surgery can be performed on adults as well.
Dr. Rubinstein often performs otoplasty as an outpatient procedure and surgical times average two to three hours. For younger patients, general anesthesia is commonly used. For adults, local anesthesia and sedation are usually used. Incisions are small and well-concealed as they are located in the back of the ear. There are various techniques which may be used to improve large or protruding ears. The cartilage may be sculpted to a more desirable shape and bent back toward the head. In some cases, a large piece of cartilage may be removed. Other times, sutures may be used to fold the cartilage back onto itself to reshape the ear. In most cases, both ears are operated on in order to achieve symmetry.
Patients typically experience minimal pain following ear surgery and any pain or discomfort that does occur is easily managed with medication. Bandages are applied after surgery and these are typically removed within a few days. Once the bandages are removed, a lighter head dressing is worn. Patients will need to refrain from sleeping on the ears for a period of time.
Work, school and other normal activities can often be resumed within five to seven days. Patients will need to avoid strenuous exercise and contact sports for at least one to two months.
All surgery carries some risk. Possible complications associated with otoplasty may include adverse anesthesia reactions, blood clots, excessive scarring, infection, mismatched or artificial-looking ears and recurrence of the protrusion. If you are located in Poughkeepsie and are interested in plastic surgery visit our Poughkeepsie plastic surgery page!