Ear surgery, Otoplasty, is performed to correct protruding ears. The following ear malformations can be repaired by otoplasty: lop ear, cupped ear, small ears, shell ear, large or stretched earlobes. Ears are fully developed by age four; this procedure is most common for children and adolescents.
Procedure: One technique is to make a small incision in the back of the ear exposing the cartilage. From that incision the surgeon is able to mold the cartilage into the desired position. Some cartilage may be removed and permanent stitches will be used to maintain the ear's new shape. The surgeon may also make an incision in the back of the ear and remove skin instead of cartilage and fold the cartilage, which pulls the ear back towards the head. This technique requires no removal of cartilage. This procedure usually takes between 2-3 hours, but in more complicated cases it may take longer. General anesthesia is used in most cases throughout the entire operation. For more complicated cases, hospitalization may be required; otherwise, it is an outpatient day surgery.
Post-op: Adults receiving this surgery can return to work 5 days after surgery. Children should stay home from school for 1 week. A post-operative compression band will need to be worn for the first 2 weeks. Children's activities should be monitored carefully and avoid activities that could bend the ear for 1 month after surgery. Complications are very rare but there is a possibility of blood clots under the ear, infection of the cartilage, and formation of scar tissue.