Otoplasty

Author: Dr. Oreste Di Mattei Di Matteo

date: 20/01/2020

Otoplasty, aesthetic and reconstructive ear surgery,
 is performed when the ears are protruding or deformed. 
Otoplasty can correct:

  • protruding ears
  • much larger than normal ear lobes
  • "sticking-out" ears
  • birth defects
  • after a tumour is removed  
  • injuries

Otoplasty surgery is most often performed on children from 4 to 14, but adults can also have it done.

OTOPLASTY – the methods used to correct external ear defects can include:

  • the non-surgical temporary Kaye suture
  • aesthetic and reconstructive ear surgery

The Kaye technique: the non-surgical correction of protruding ears
The correction of protruding ears almost always involves otoplasty. Octoplasty is a surgical procedure for the repositioning and possible reduction of prominent ears. This type of procedure is widely used and considered safe if performed by an expert. The non-surgical alternative is the Kaye technique, which involves the application, following a precise pattern, of stitches to reposition the ears correctly.
This method is performed in a day hospital and requires the use of local anaesthetic.
After the procedure, there is usually some pain, which can be alleviated with painkillers.
Bruising and redness may also be present on the treated area. 
Intense physical exercise and abrupt movements should be avoided for at least a few days after treatment, as this can cause injury the ears.
The Kaye technique should only be carried out by a doctor, who will determine the patient's suitability for this treatment.
Outpatient correction of protruding ears is not recommended for patients with highly-pronounced protruding ears.  
The treatment is indicated for children and, in general, for people who do not want to undergo surgery, but it can also be used to improve the result of a previous otoplasty that has not given the desired outcome or for possible corrections.

Otoplasty: aesthetic surgery of protruding ears
The first step is to consult a plastic surgeon.

How is the otoplasty procedure carried out?
There are several ways in which the ear can be reshaped. Among the most common, are:

  • cartilage reduction
  • folding and stitching of the cartilage 

In both cases, the surgeon starts by making a small incision in the back of the ear. This allows for the required procedure to be performed. After surgery, the surgeon closes the cuts with stitches.

What to expect and how to prepare for otoplasty
The surgery will last about 2 or 3 hours, depending on the complexity of the case. 
More than 3 hours will be required if the procedure is very complex.
On adults, the surgeon will probably use local anaesthesia with a sedative.
A child will probably receive general anaesthesia.
Most otoplasties are performed at the surgeon's office or in an outpatient facility suitable for surgery.
On the day of surgery you should wear loose and comfortable clothing. It is also a good idea to wear a button up shirt  to avoid having to remove clothes over your head.
In the case of an adult, the procedure will be completed within a few hours and you can go home the same day, except for complex procedures. 
You should be taken home and assisted by someone for at least the day and night of the surgery. 
In the case of a child, the doctor sometimes requires 1 night's hospital stay to monitor the post-operative progress.

Recovery from otoplasty
Adults are recommended to stay at home for 1 week after otoplasty surgery.
Children must stay home from school for at least 1 week after an otoplasty procedure. 
The head will be bandaged. 
It is very important to follow the doctor's instructions in order to ensure gradual recovery after otoplasty. 
The surgeon will tell you how long you will need to wear the bandages, how to sleep and how to wash and clean the operated area without causing any injuries
The bandage will probably have to be kept on for at least 3 days. 
When the bandage is removed, the surgeon will then put on a dressing that must be worn for a maximum of 3 weeks for proper healing. 
The stitches will be removed after 1 week of surgery. 
Scars are to be expected and will reduce over time.

Otoplasty, complications and side effects
There are risks as with any form of surgery. The most common complications with otoplasty may include:

  • infection
  • blood clots
  • pain
  • swelling, but in some cases the surgeon may prescribe a painkiller or a prescription antibiotic as a preventive measure.

Otoplasty, some of the side effects include:

  • Haematoma
  • Asymmetry
  • Poor healing
  • Change in skin sensitivity
  • Unevenness of the skin
  • Skin discolouration / swelling
  • Risks related to anaesthesia
  • Scars
  • Allergies to suture materials, topical preparations or injected agents

 Contact your doctor immediately, after otoplasty, in case of:

  • fever
  • excessive bleeding
  • swelling
  • injury

Otoplasty: results
After otoplasty, you need to wait before the results are final.
In the post-operative phase of otoplasty it is very important to follow your plastic surgeon's instructions, not to forget to go to the check-ups and above all to always keep realistic expectations about the results of the operation.

Otoplasty is a surgical procedure that is used to improve the appearance of the ears. Surgery may be required to correct prominent, deformed or disfigured ears due to injury.

Otoplasty Improves the appearance of the ears, bringing significant physical and psychological benefits to the individual, both adult and child.

Related articles