Ear Surgery

Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery is a surgical specialty that seeks to improve physical function or to minimize disfigurement or scarring resulting from accidents, disease or birth defects. The word plastic is derived from the Greek meaning molding or giving form.
Otoplasty is a form of ear surgery performed to set disproportionately large or prominent ears closer to the head.

The Surgical Procedure

Otoplasty typically is performed to create or restore the center fold to disproportionately large or prominent ears.  The extent of the procedure depends on what changes are desired and what your surgeon deems appropriate. On your surgeon’s recommendation, you mat be operated on in the surgeon’s office, in an outpatient surgical facility or you may be admitted to the hospital.

Otoplasty patient, shown before surgery with ears that protrude.

Otoplasty may performed under local anesthesia which numbs the area around the ears, or under general anesthesia which will make you sleep through the entire operation.
There are several possible surgical approaches to otoplasty. Using a commonly employed technique, the surgeon makes incisions in the back of the ear and removes skin to expose ear cartilage.  Then, the surgeon uses sutures to fold the cartilage in on itself to reshape the ear.  In some instances, the same result can be achieved without sutures by weakening the cartilage before folding it. The incisions are closed with sutures.

Surgery, seen from the back of the ear. (a) Incisions are made to remove skin in the shaded area. (b) Sutures pull the cartilage together and recontour the ear. (c) Sutures close the incisions, leaving a faint scar that fades with time.

By creating a more pronounced fold in the central portion of the ear, the surgeon brings the ear closer to the head.

Depending on the extent of the surgery, the procedure usually lasts about two hours.

Surgery, seen from the front of the ear. Reshaped cartilage restores the ear fold, making the ear lie flatter against the head. The postoperative patient with ears that are normal in appearance.

All of this information and pictures have been provided by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.