Many children are born with protruding, uneven or misshapen ears that can become very prominent as they grow older. More and more parents are choosing corrective ear surgery for their children, who may be experiencing bullying because of the shape of their ears.
Otoplasty, also known as ear reshaping surgery or ear pinning, is becoming quite a common operation in children and young adults who have ears that stick out. The relatively simple procedure is designed to address the issue of prominent ears, resulting in a more subtle, natural, and even appearance.
Dr Avery has over a decade of experience in Plastic Surgery and has been performing ear surgery in Newcastle since 2013.
If you are considering ear surgery for yourself or your child, a consultation will allow you to discuss the different options, expected results, and any risks involved. During the initial consultation Dr Avery will also assess the patient’s relevant medical history and before going any further, ensure that otoplasty is a safe and appropriate choice.
All otoplasty procedures are performed in an accredited hospital, with appropriately trained support staff and anaesthetist. The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic as a day procedure.
Surgery to pin back protruding ears involves creating an incision behind the ear and removing a small amount excess skin. The underlying cartilage which gives the ear its structure and shape is then manipulated and sutured before closing the gap with sutures, pulling the ear closer to the side of the head.
If an ear needs reshaping, cartilage sparing and scoring techniques may also be used to create a more natural, proportionate shape. Otoplasty can take anywhere between 1–2 hours, depending on the complexity of the procedure.
Otoplasty is a generally a day surgery, with the patient able to go home a few hours after the operation. If the patient is an adult, they will need to organise somebody else to drive them home.
There will be some slight bruising and mild swelling, which generally subsides about 2 weeks after the operation. Patients may usually return to work or school within 7-10 days, yet vigorous physical activity is discouraged within the first 4 weeks following surgery.
Patients recovering from ear surgery will be required to wear a head bandage for approximately 5 days to reduce post-operative pain or swelling. A loose headband worn at night is also recommended for the first 6 weeks, to avoid the corrected ears from pulling forward while sleeping.
A customised pain relief program will be created for each patient and issued before leaving the hospital. If circumstances change at any stage during the recovery period, then the pain medication can certainly be adjusted accordingly.
Scars from ear surgery are very small and well-hidden behind the ears. They will generally fade to almost invisible, although this can vary depending on how well the patient’s skin copes with scarring.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. Dr Avery is a member of the two leading professional associations for plastic surgeons in Australia, ASAPS and ASPS. Their websites provide additional information regarding plastic surgery in Australia that you might find useful, please visit ASAPS and ASPS.