protruding ears can make a child of any age the object of
cruel remarks by his or her peers. For any child whose
appearance causes concern, otoplasty, "ear pinning" should
be considered before peer pressure begins to play a
significant role in the child's self-esteem, typically age
six or seven. When otoplasty is performed at about age five
the development the auricular (ear) cartilage is at an
optimal state of maturity to accept the modified projection.
Otoplasty (OH-TOE-PLASTY) is a safe, effective procedure
performed to achieve a less noticeable appearance while
maintaining function. Because of its potential to foster a
child's self-esteem, otoplasty is a most satisfying facial
When discussing otoplasty and cosmetic surgery the best
place to start is by looking at before and after photos to
see just what can be accomplished. Adults often tell us that
their protruding ears detract from their beauty and ask to
combine otoplasty with another surgery. Most rejuvenation
and contouring surgery can be combined with otoplasty
including facelift, browlift, blepharoplasty (eyelid
surgery), chin implants, cheek implants, rhinoplasty (nasal
surgery), lip surgery and skin resurfacing.
For adults considering otoplasty, it goes without saying
that cosmetic surgery won't save a failing marriage.
Patients not ready for cosmetic surgery are better served
with conservative measures, such as Botox for fine lines and
wrinkles or Collagen for crows feet. Adults that educate
themselves about cosmetic surgery know when and if the time
is right to proceed.
At the initial consultation, your surgeon evaluated the bony
and soft tissue architecture as well as the form and
function of the ears. Assessment of the head and neck along
with the ears themselves provides the basis for what one may
expect from otoplasty. Skin type, ethnic background and age,
along with the degree of deformity and function are
important factors influencing the outcome of surgery. As
with all facial plastic surgery, a thorough health
assessment and realistic expectations are prerequisites. The
family's understanding of procedures and routines is
essential to a successful final result.
preoperative appointment our nurse will provide all the
instructions for you to follow before and after surgery. On
the business day prior to the operation we ask you to call
to confirm your arrival time for surgery. Upon arrival for
your surgery, you and your family will talk with a nurse to
discuss anesthesia (local anesthesia with IV sedation keeps
you asleep and comfortable) and meet with your doctor before
going to the operating room. Depending on the child's age
and development, IV's are typically started after the child
Otoplasty takes about one to two hours depending
on the structure and tissue prior to surgery. If you are
having a combination of procedures your surgery will take
longer. Recovery time from the anesthetic takes about an
hour and adults will be discharged about four hours from the
time of admission. It may be necessary to watch a youth a
bit longer to be sure she is eating, drinking, voiding and
awake enough to go home.
any aspirin, aspirin-containing products, or ibuprofen
(Advil, Aleve, etc.) for one week prior to and two weeks
following your surgery. See "Medication List" for
details about products to avoid prior to surgery. If you
are on any medications that affect bleeding (such as
coumadin/warfarin) notify the office immediately.
Please refrain from tobacco products and alcohol for one
week prior to surgery. Along with delayed wound healing,
persistent skin redness and other complications may
persist when tobacco and alcohol are not discontinued.
us of all routine medications and significant health
history. We ask that you remain on your daily
medications unless instructed otherwise. At the
preoperative appointment, our nurse will tell you which
daily medications to take with just a sip of water on
the morning of surgery.
preoperative appointment you will be given prescriptions
for use following surgery including an oral antibiotic
and pain medications. We will also provide instructions
to obtain a wide ski-type headband.
these prescription medications and supplies before your
surgery so you will have them ready for use when you
return home after surgery.
You may not eat
or drink after midnight the evening before the procedure
unless instructed otherwise. You may brush your teeth.
Your procedure will be cancelled if you do not follow
Do not bring
valuables (cash, credit cards, watches, jewelry, etc.)
Remove all make-up and nail polish before arriving for
Someone must be
available by telephone at all times while you are here
at the clinic for surgery. Someone will need to drive
you home after your surgery and stay with you that
evening. Transportation to the office for head dressing
removal three to four days following surgery is also
When you wake up
from surgery you will notice a snug head wrap dressing that
covers your ears. This helps to minimize swelling and
reinforce the new position of the ears. The head wrap
dressing may temporarily affect your hearing.
Following otoplasty, the nurses will ask assist you to meet
the discharge criteria: to drink liquids, walk with a steady
gait, void, manage your discomfort, and to see that you can
make your needs known. The nurses will teach you how to keep
the head wrap dressing dry and intact for about three to
You will be asked to come to our office (not the Surgery
Center) three days after surgery for removal of the head
dressing with replacement of the ski-type headband. It is
essential that you bring the headband with you to this
appointment. Most patients tell us removal of the head
dressing is a big relief.
Sleep with head of the bed elevated or use two to three
pillows for one week after surgery. Absolutely no bending,
lifting or straining. For adult otoplasty patients, if you
have little children, sit on the floor to let them climb on
to your lap. We recommend no driving for one week following
surgery while the head dressing is in place due to decreased
hearing and range of motion of the head and neck. A minimum
of one week off work is recommended.
Advance diet from liquids to soft food to your regular diet
For three to four days after surgery, keep the dressing dry
and intact. Bathing is OK, but do not get the dressing wet.
Use pain medication as needed. Most patients complain of
discomfort more than pain. Side effects of pain medications
can include nausea and constipation. Taking pain medication
with food helps minimize nausea. Over-the-counter laxatives
are indicated if constipation persists.
Start your antibiotic (Keflex/cephalexin) when you get home.
It is not uncommon to have a low-grade fever for 24 hours
Bruising, swelling and disrupted sleep are very normal
postoperative symptoms and will decrease as the healing
process occurs. Since hearing is temporarily compromised,
assistance with daily activities is recommended.
Following otoplasty, it takes time for the swelling to
subside and for the skin to heal. Most patients return to
school one to two weeks following surgery, depending on
temporary bruising and swelling. We recommend a minimum of
two weeks out of physical education and a written excuse
will be provided.
Final results following otoplasty are not assessed for one
full year following surgery. After three months, the changes
are ever so subtle, although still important. Being
perfectionists about our work, you may tell us you are
pleased long before the one year anniversary. However, we
request that you follow-up with us at that time for
postoperative photographs and so that we can enjoy your