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Otoplasty is a cosmetic ear surgery to change its shape, size, positioning, improving function and appearance. This procedure involves reshaping the pinna (the external part of the human ear), and may also include adjustments to the ear cartilage, the main structure of the ear. Otoplasty can address some of the most common concerns such as:
• Prominent ears (or protruding ears, are defined as ears that extend more than 2 cm from the side of the head)
• Large ears in proportion to your head
• Unusual ear shape caused by birth defect or injury
Otoplasty is generally a safe procedure with a high success rate. However, you should always understand potential risks. This procedure is generally suitable for children after age 5, when the ears have reached their full size, and through adulthood.
Who is it suitable for
✔ Individuals willing to change ear shape, size or poisoning
✔ Otoplasty can be performed on children after 5 years old and through adulthood.
✔ Healthy people with no serious illnesses that can impact recovery
✔ Liposuction normally takes 1-4 hours
✔ Most patients can go home the same day
✔ The complexity and duration of liposuction vary from patient to patient, depending on their individual situation
✔ In case of small amount of fat removal, you may return to work after 2-3 days
✔ For more complex liposuction procedures, you may need to take at least 2 weeks time-off for your recovery
✔ Bruises, swelling and redness is usually visible for at least 2 weeks but can be up to 6 months
✔ It normally takes at least 6 weeks to resume strenuous exercise
✔ It can take up to 6 months to see the full effect of liposuction
Types Of Otoplasty Treatments
There are three main types of otoplasty:
The ear pinning otoplasty or pinnaplasty is designed to improve the appearance of large or excessively protruding ears that stick out from the side of the head, usually extending more than 2 cm. This procedure aims to create a more aesthetically-pleasing appearance by drawing the ears closer to the head.
The ear augmentation is designed to increase the size of the outer ear that have not been fully developed. This is usually as a result of a birth defect.
The ear reduction or macrotia surgery is designed to reduce the size of the outer ear, which is usually caused by a birth defect. When it comes to ear reduction, ear can be reduced at the upper poles, at the ear lobes or both.
Before The Treatment
Before the treatment, you need to meet with a doctor to discuss your otoplasty objectives and perform an examination:
• Goals and expectations - Prepare to discuss your otoplasty goals and your expectations from the procedure. Your doctor should explain you different types of otoplasty procedures, potential risks, recovery and expected outcomes.
• Medical history - You should provide a complete medical history including your past and current medical conditions, and medications that you are taking. Your doctor is likely to enquire about any ear infections and if you had any previous surgeries.
• Examination - Your doctor is going to perform physical examination to determine the best treatment approach for you.
• Photos - Photographs of your ears will be taken from different angles so that your surgeon can use them for assessing the result after surgery and to educate you about the procedure and anticipated results.
• Diagnostics, tests and additional examination - Be prepared to undertake additional examination, diagnostics, a specialist consultation and blood tests if your surgeon requests before preceding with this treatment.
You will be advised by your doctor how to prepare for the procedure which may include dietary and medication requirements. You may need to stop taking certain medications such as contraceptive pill and anti-inflammatory drugs, which can increase bleeding.
It's recommended that you arrange for help during recovery and drive you home from a hospital.
What does it involve?
Otoplasty procedure may vary depending on the type of surgery you have but there are some common steps:
• This procedure is generally performed under local anaesthesia, which numbs only part of your body. General anaesthetic can be used for young children and people with the underlying conditions.
• Incisions are made on the back of your ears to get access to the ear cartilage
• Small pieces of cartilage and excess skin is removed if necessary
• The ear cartilage is then reshaped and folded to a desired position
• Stitches applied to fix the position and close incisions
• A bandage may be applied to help your ears heal in their new position
Otoplasty procedure usually takes 1-2 hours but can take longer if other treatments are done at the same time. In most cases patients can go home the same day.
After the treatment
After otoplasty you will need to wear a bandage. Once it is removed you may need to wear a loose headband at night for a few weeks to protect your ears. During your recovery you should avoid sleeping on your side to protect your ears from pressure and rubbing. After otoplasty it is common to experience some discomfort and:
• Bruising and swelling for a few weeks
• Small scars behind the ear which should fade away after some time
• Numbness for several weeks
• Sore ears and itching
Most people can return to work after 1-2 weeks. However, recovery is different for everyone and it depends on the complexity of the operation. Swimming can be usually resumed after 4-6 weeks and contact sports after 12 weeks.
As with any operation, otoplasty can occasionally result in:
• Scarring (scars are hidden behind the ears)
• Development of blood cloths
• Excessive bleeding
• Asymmetry in ear placement
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