If you feel self conscious about protruding ears, the size and shape of your ears, you have probably heard about cosmetic ear surgery or ear reshaping. Unless you have long hair, large or protruding ears are a very noticeable, and often cause embarrassment or insecurity. Aside from the size and position of the ears, severe ear defects can also urge people to explore surgical options.
What is Otoplasty / Ear Reshaping Surgery?
Otoplasty is a cosmetic surgery procedure used to sculpt the shape, size, or orientation of the ears, as well as surgery to reshape and reduce the size of ears and earlobes through removal of excess cartilage and skin.
When considering surgery, one of the most common concerns is whether otoplasty will have any impact on hearing. In order to understand the risks, we must first understand the different types of otoplasty and techniques.
Who Can Benefit From Otoplasty?
Since ears are a prominent feature, patients will experience an increase in self-esteem and confidence once their ears are aesthetically pleasing and proportional to their other features.
If you feel self-conscious because you ears stick out too much or sit at an unflattering angle or have an unflattering shape or size, otoplasty can help you correct ear imperfections and maintain a natural look.
Many patients report improvement in mental wellbeing and overall emotional health. The procedure is safe, with minimal risks and minimal downtime of approximately two to six weeks for recovery, depending on the extent of surgery.
Enjoy natural-looking results with minimal down time and scarring once healed. You get to choose how your ears will look, and the results will be natural with minimal scarring after the healing process is complete.
The Difference Between Traditional Otoplasty And Reconstructive Otoplasty
Most people have heard of “ear pinning” a traditional form of otoplasty where large or extruding/ protruding ears are pinned back towards the patient’s head to create an aesthetically pleasing and balanced look.
However, reconstructive otoplasty is a solution to correct severe ear defects from birth or from outside trauma such as injuries, burns, and accidents. A common type of injury is “cauliflower ear”, which results from accidents and outside trauma.
Different Types of Ear Reshaping Surgery
While ear pinning is the most common type of ear reshaping surgery, many patients also opt for ear reduction surgery to change the proportion of their ears to their head and facial features.
Traditional Otoplasty (Ear Pinning) Surgery
Ear pinning surgery normally takes up to two hours, depending on type of surgery. Generally, ear pinning and ear reshaping surgery involves the use of local anesthetic accompanied by sedatives.
The surgeon makes incisions behind the ear and reshapes the exposed cartilage, and then removes excess cartilage and skin. Once complete, the ears are repositioned closer to the head, and then the incision is closed with stitches.
Ear pinning is a procedure that involves a fusion of cartilage sparing and scoring techniques that removes the skin behind the ear and repositions and reshapes the patient’s ears to achieve the desired look and shape.Cartilage sparing involves the use of stitches and sutures to reshape the ears and change their position to create a smooth, natural looking appearance.
Cartilage scoring involves rearranging, adding, or removing tissue by making tiny incisions in the cartilage. While cartilage scoring has a higher risk of scarring, any potential scars will be unnoticeable.
Reconstructive Otoplasty And Ear Reduction Surgery
Some patients want to alter the size and shape of their ears rather than pin back ears that stick out. Ear reduction surgery is used to reduce the size of ears and earlobes so that they are proportional to the patient’s face.
During the surgery, the excess cartilage and skin is removed to create smaller, balanced ears and earlobes. In order to achieve a uniform aesthetic appearance of the face in proportion to the ears, reconstructive surgery is performed in addition to ear pinning.
To keep the ear as natural looking as possible, reconstructive ear surgery techniques include skin grafts from the patient’s buttock area, as well as cartilage from the rib to achieve a natural appearance.
Does Ear Reshaping Affect My Hearing?
Otoplasty is a purely aesthetic procedure that is used to reshape the external ear, which includes protruding pinna and ear lobes. Generally, changes in the shape of the external ear are not expected to cause problems or change someone’s ability to hear.
Any changes in hearing involve the structure of the inner ear, consisting of the eardrum, cochlea, malleus, and auditory nerve that affect your ability to hear. Otoplasty does not have any impact on the internal structure of the ear, since the procedure is done on the external ear, and anatomical structures that relate to hearing in the middle and inner ear area are left undisturbed.
Since otoplasty is focused on the cartilage of the outer ear, it is extremely unlikely that the procedure could improve or diminish the quality of your hearing. If you experience any changes in hearing following an otoplasty, the issue could be related to a viral infection or other issue not related to otoplasty.
However, if you have issues with hearing, consult an ear doctor to run tests for the inner ear to make sure there are no irregularities or special circumstances before surgery. For changes in hearing immediately following an otoplasty, consult an otolaryngologist for closer examination.
Potential Side Effects Of Ear Reshaping
Patients experience post-procedural side effects with minimal discomfort, such pain, temporary numbness, and itching or throbbing in the surgical area. Discuss your options for treating pain and discomfort for the recovery period to help ease the healing process.
About Dr. Andrew Jacono
To find out more about ear reshaping or otoplasty in New York, seek the expertise of Andrew Jacono M.D., F.A.C.S. who is an authority in the field of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. Dr. Jacono has also been recognized by the media for his expertise as one of New York City’s Best Facial Plastic Surgeons. Learn more about Dr. Jacono and his practice by visiting www.newyorkfacialplasticsurgery.com.