Probably no other physical characteristic cries out for facial plastic surgery more than protruding ears. Children, long the victims of cruel nicknames like “Dumbo” or “Mickey Mouse,” are the most likely candidates for Otoplasty, but this surgery can be performed at any age after the ears have reached full size, usually around five to six years of age. Even if the ears are only mildly distorted, the condition can lead to self-consciousness and poor adaptation to school. It is often desirable in children to consider this surgery before they start Kindergarten or first grade.* *Information from the American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery website.
Understanding the Surgery
Surgery begins with an incision just behind the ear, in the natural fold where the ear is joined to the head. The surgeon will then remove the necessary amounts of cartilage and skin required to achieve the right effect. In some cases, the surgeon will trim the cartilage, shaping it into a more desirable form and then pin the cartilage back with permanent sutures to secure the cartilage.
In other instances, the surgeon will not remove any cartilage at all, using stitches to hold the cartilage permanently in place. After sculpting the cartilage to the desired shape, the surgeon will apply sutures to anchor the ear until healing occurs to hold the ear in the desired position.
A change in shape will not affect hearing. Although the ears’ folds and convolutions do serve to concentrate and localize sound waves, routine surgery to pin back or reshape ears will not produce a noticeable change in hearing.
Ear surgery can offer a real emotional boost, in addition to its cosmetic benefits.
What to Expect After the Surgery
Soft dressings applied to the ears will remain for a few days. Most patients experience some mild discomfort. If you are accustomed to sleeping on your side, your sleep patterns may be disrupted for a week or so because you cannot put any pressure on the ear areas. Headbands are sometimes recommended to hold the ears in the desired position for two weeks after the surgery.
The risks are fairly minimal, but include very rare infections, poor healing or possibility of recurrence of the deformity. Normally, there will only be a thin white scar behind the ear after healing. Because this scar is in a natural crease behind the ear, the problem of visibility is inconsequential. Anything unusual should be reported to the surgeon immediately.*
*Information from the American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery website.
Being a Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery as well as a Board Certified surgeon in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery in Canada and the USA, he has the expertise to assess and provide you with the information you need to make an informed and realistic decision.
Dr. Bakala does all his cosmetic surgery for Adult Otoplasty surgery in his private, discrete, fully ACCREDITED operating suite. The procedures may be performed under full general anesthesia or “twilight anesthesia” under the care of Board Certified Anesthesiologists. This provides the patient with the utmost in privacy and quality medical care.
POST OPERATIVE ADVICE AND RESTRICTONS FOR PATIENTS WHO HAVE RECEIVED GENERAL ANEASTHESIA OR INTRAVENOUS SEDATION.
To be read carefully by patient, parent, and/or guardian.
Following general aneasthesia or intravenous sedation, 24 to 36 hours are required for the full effects of the drugs to wear off. During this period, it is essential that you follow these instructions:
1. On leaving the office, you must be accompanied by a responsible adult, who may either drive you home or accompany you home in a taxi. They must stay with you over night.
2. On arrival home, it is common to feel sleepy. You are advised to rest quietly at home for the balance of the day. Sleep in a semi up right position.
3. You are advised to lie flat if you feel dizzy or light headed.
4. You are encouraged to drink lots of non-citric juice or non – diet soft drinks for the first 4-6 hours. Light meals are recommended following your operation (i.e. soup, jellos, and ice cream). Milk is to be avoided for at least 24 hours.
5. Avoid alcohol in any form for 48 hours.
6. Avoid any drugs, which may affect the nervous system for 24 hours.(verify with doctor)
7. You MUST NOT operate motor vehicles, boats, power tools or machinery for 24 hours.
8. You must not operate an aircraft for a least four days following general aneasthesia.
9. You must not sign or enter into a legal contract for 24 hours.
10. You may experience some muscular aches in your back or neck area. As well, you may develop a sore throat or stuffy nose following a general aneasthetic. These symptoms are not serious and will disappear in a short time.
11. You must have a responsible adult with the patient for the rest of the day and night. If you have any questions or problems regarding post-operative signs or symptoms, or any associated concerns please call our office, 250-868-8056 or alternate provided. If this was surgery performed at KGH please call the ENT surgeon on call.
12. If unable to reach the surgeon and it is an emergency please go to the emergency department at KGH.
This information is intended for surgical Patients of Dr. C. Bakala.