Otoplasty 101: Types of Ear Surgeries
Ear surgery isn’t the most widely discussed cosmetic procedure out there, but it can be one of the most effective. Many people suffer from oversized, undersized, or oddly shaped ears – and if you’re struggling with this yourself, otoplasty might be the solution.
Let’s have a closer look at what you can expect from different types of ear surgery.
Why Get It?
Whether you’ve been teased and called Dumbo as a child, or always felt that your ears detracted from your appearance – otoplasty offers you the chance to correct the unusual size or shape of your ears. They’re a feature we often take for granted when their appearance is relatively normal, but this only makes any irregularities more noticeable. Most patients who opt for otoplasty simply want to make a first impression that doesn’t involve their ears!
What Does The Surgery Involve?
Every ear is unique, and requires a tailored approach. They’re a delicate and complex feature, so this is one surgery where you’ll really notice the difference between an ordinary plastic surgeon, and specialist facial plastic surgeon with plenty of otoplasty experience.
There are three main types of otoplasty:
- Ear Pinback – This is the most common variety of otoplasty. Ears which protrude too far from the face (even though they may be of normal size) can be “pulled back” towards the cheeks. The surgery involves a simple incision at the base of the external ear, and some of the ear’s cartilage is sometimes removed to enhance the effect.
- Ear Reduction – Not to be confused with pinback, this surgery involves the removal of some of the ear’s outer tissue. It can correct for abnormal size – such as occurs with a condition called macrotia. In these cases, ears may not necessarily protrude too far from the face, but can still appear too large when seen from the side. Ear reduction surgery removes excess cartilage, creating an appearance that’s more in proportion with the rest of your face.
- Ear Augmentation – Oversized ears aren’t the only problem people frequently suffer from. It can be just as disheartening to have ears which are smaller than normal – sometimes to the extent that they are totally invisible from the front. Ear augmentation can give your ear more structure, ensuring that all of its components are balanced and in harmony with your face. Cartilage is often taken from another part of your body and added to the ear. The augmentation technique can also be an appropriate solution for patients with disfigured or malformed ears.
Finally, another fairly common ear surgery is earlobe repair. Torn or stretched earlobes are a common complication from a lifetime of wearing heavy earrings, or getting lobe gauging. Experienced plastic surgeons can leave an almost invisible line when they stitch a torn lobe back together.
All of these options above can be performed as outpatient procedures, with local anesthetic and minimal recovery time. Full results can be expected in about a week, and you don’t usually need to take time off work.
Dr. Siegel is a facial plastic surgeon with extensive experience in all kinds of otoplasty. To find out more about whether ear surgery might be right for you, contact him today!