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Otoplasty, also known as Pinnaplasty or ear pinning is one of the most effective surgical procedures. Patients can have endured years of social embarassment before considering such a life-changing procedure. The problem can be protruding ears or ears with unfolded configuration that makes them appear large. The saisfaction rates following otoplasty / pinnaplasty are one of the highest following any type of cosmetic surgical procedure.
It can be performed on one or both ears as necessary. If you are considering ear reshaping, very large ear lobes can be reduced at the same time if required. Surgery can be performed under local anaesthetic with you awake. Alternatively if you would prefer a short general anaesthetic can be used. The otoplasty procedure involves resetting the position of the ears closer to the side of the head. This can be achieved by either removing cartilage from the back of the ear or adjusting the shape of the ears.
The consultation begins by having an opportunity to discuss your ideas, concerns and expectations about the otoplasty procedure with your surgeon, and ask any relevant questions you may have.
Your otoplasty surgeon will:
- Take a focused history and examine you
- Explain the otoplasty procedure
- Take your needs and preferences into account when deciding on the most appropriate treatment option for you
An otoplasty surgeon can be either from a plastic surgery, ENT surgery or maxillofacial surgery background. All three specialities are fully trained to perform otoplasty / pinnaplasty.
All patients should be in good health and have realistic expectations about what can be achieved with otoplasty surgery.
We do not treat patients below the age of 18 years of age.
Healing is better if patients refrain from or quit smoking.
The otoplasty procedure is performed purely for cosmetic purposes, to help improve one’s body image and self-esteem. If you are concerned about the appearance of your ears to the point that you wear your hair to cover them, then you may be a good candidate for this procedure.
The ear or pinna is composed of cartilage that provides stable structural support to the surrounding tissues and gives the pinna its shape. The cartilage is covered with a thin layer of skin on both sides of the ear.
During the otoplasty procedure, an incision is made just behind the ears in the natural fold close to where the ears are attached to the skull. The skin is carefully lifted off to expose the underlying cartilage, which is then shaped and pulled back towards the head using carefully positioned permanent sutures.
Once the ear is fully healed, the only sign of surgery will be a thin line behind the ear, which is virtually invisible. Otoplasty is usually performed under local anesthesia, and you are able to go home immediately after the surgery. The entire process takes 1-2 hours.
The permanent sutures that are used in otoplasty are very delicate, requiring you to wear a band that holds the ears in place. You will need to wear the band while you sleep as well.
Following the otoplasty procedure, the surgeon will wrap the patient’s ears and head with a pressure garment to help the ears maintain their new shape. It is important that the patient leave the bandages on for the specified time which is usually five to seven days. The bandages should not be tampered with or allowed to get wet, not even when bathing. Doing so, could lead to infection or other problems. As a rule of thumb, patients should avoid touching the dressing.
During this first week, pain should be minimal and may be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers. There will likely be swelling and bruising but this is normal. To reduce the swelling, patients should keep their head elevated at all times. Bending over should be avoided and patients should sleep with their head propped up on multiple pillows. If possible, the patient should not sleep on their side or stomach.
Am I an ideal candidate for Otoplasty?
Otoplasty are for those who have protruding ears that is impacting their self-esteem. However, we do not treat anyone under 18 years old.
What happens before the otoplasty procedure?
You will be required to stop certain medications which increase the risk of bleeding and you will also need to use a special antiseptic solution before surgery to minimise the risk of infection.
What happens during the otoplasty procedure?
An incision is made behind the ear close to the area between the ear skin the skull. The skin is dissected off the ear to show the underlying ear cartilage, which is then re-contoured and pulled back towards the head using special stitches. A compression garment is applied, and patients can go home the same day.
How long does the otoplasty procedure last?
About 1.5 hours
What is otoplasty recovery like?
Patients can return to work the next day, and restart normal activities in two weeks. The bandage is worn continuously for one week followed by night time only for three months.
What are the otoplasty risks?
Risks for otoplasty include weakening and breakage of the sutures which can lead to recurrence of the original problem, bleeding, infection and abnormal scarring. Our surgeons take special precautions to minimise the risk of these complications and can perform revision surgery if required.
Will I have noticable scars after Otoplasty?
There will be scarring from the stitches made during the procedure, however, it is usually made within the crease behind your ears significantly hiding the scars.
After Otoplasty, will I have to wear a garment or plaster on my head?
The permanent sutures that are used in otoplasty are very delicate, requiring you to wear a band that holds the ears in place for 5-7 days and should not be allowed to get wet.
Is there much discomfort after otoplasty?
Pain from otoplasty is minimal, and is treated with paracetamol as required.
Will there be swelling and bruising?
It is likely that there will be swelling and bruising but it is normal. Patients should keep their head elevated at all times to reduce the swelling and bending over should also be avoided for better healing.
Can I take a shower/bath after my surgery?
You can take a shower below the neck but we recommend you to wait till the bandages can come off before you wash your hair.