Also Serving Phoenix, Paradise Valley, & Mesa
What is Otoplasty?
Otoplasty, or ear pinning is surgery to change the shape of the ear. It is most commonly performed to correct the appearance of ears that are prominent or “stick out”, or to create more normal ear folds in people who are missing them.
Ear surgery is commonly done on both children and adults. Completing ear surgery prior to age fourteen minimizes ridicule a child may endure. For those adults who did not have the opportunity to have their ears corrected in this age range, ear surgery can be perfomed on them as well.
individual results may vary
Where Your Ear Surgery Will Be Performed
Safety is always Dr. Weinrach’s number one priority. He only operates only in accredited surgery centers and hospitals. He has hospital priviledges for every procedure he performs. Otoplasty is almost always done as an outpatient procedure (you can go home the same day as the procedure).
Anesthesia for Ear Surgery or Otoplasty
For very young children, Dr. Weinrach may recommend general anesthesia. Being completely asleep throughout the entire procedure will allow Dr. Weinrach to be able to do the best job possible, and obtain the best possible result. For older children or adults, local anesthesia with a sedative is often used. You will be in a light sleep, and will not feel discomfort.
How Ear Surgery or Otoplasty is done
Depending on the problem, the time is takes to do ear surgery varies. Anywhere from one to three hours is about average. Very complex cases can take longer.
There are three main areas of the ear which in general have different treatments during otoplasty. The upper third of the ear contains folds of cartilage which are often underdeveloped or even absent. This can cause both a flattened appearance of the upper ear as well at prominence or “sticking out”. This is corrected by creating a new fold in the cartilage in this area by placing sutures (stitches) in the cartilage. These sutures are placed through a hidden incision placed on the back of the ear.
The middle third of the ear contains the conchal cartilage. This is the shell shaped cartilage part of the ear. There is often extra cartilage here that causes the ear to be prominent or “stick out”. Correcting this includes removing the extra cartilage. The ear is then set back, “pinned” or “tacked down” by placing sutures between this cartilage and the strong tissue over the bone. This is accomplished through a hidden incision in the back of the ear.
The lower third of the ear contains the earlobe. The earlobe also may need correction if it is prominent. The earlobe is also set back with sutures. The size of the earlobe can be reduced as well if it is to large. Deformities of the earlobe from piercings are also very common problems that can be corrected. Ear piercing deformities can very often be corrected in the office under local anesthesia.
In the majority of cases, otoplasty or ear surgery will leave only a very faint scar in the back of the ear. This scar fades with time, and because of its location, is not noticeable.
After Your Ear Surgery
Within several hours after surgery, adults and older children are up and around. If your child is very young, an overnight stay may be indicated while all of the effects of general anesthesia wear off.
A large bulky bandage is placed at the end of the surgery to protect the area. Mild discomfort or throbbing may be present; this is easily controlled with medication.
The bulky bandages are removed in about a week, and are replaced with a light headband. Usually there are no stitches to remove; they will dissolve in about a week.
Most adults can return to work after the dressings are removed. Children can return to school at this time as well. Playground activity should be restricted. It is a good idea to have your child’s teacher observe the child closely for a few weeks.
Your New and Improved Ears
The great majority of patients are thrilled with the results of ear surgery. Remember however, the goal is improvement, not perfection. Both ears even in a “normal” person never match perfectly. With this in mind, and if your expectations are realistic, you will be quite pleased with the results of your ear surgery.